Wine, Wine Reviews

Spanish Wines Shine and Represent Good Value

Spanish Wine

“Great wine requires a mad man to grow the vine, vise man to watch over it, a lucid poet to make is, and a lover to drink it.”

Salvador Dali


Spain boasts the largest vineyard acreage of the world.

Ever since Phoenician merchants introduced vines to the country, grapes have been grown and vinified. Even when the Moors occupied vast tracts of Spain, grapes thrived, and wine making was affected little or not at all. Moors being Muslims shun alcohol, though many have indulged secretly, but had the foresight not to prohibit wine making, even discourage it as Ottoman Turks did in Asia Minor, and even today Turkey’s president discourages alcohol consumption in various devious ways.

Moors understood the commercial and cultural importance of wine and winemaking. Spanish wines represent excellent value, especially the reds. The country is blessed with a range of climates and soils conducive to grape growing. Presently there are 69 appellations, and every time I consult a new map I observe that there are a few more.

Winemaking has improved immeasurably after 1980, and today both growers and winemakers possess the means and knowledge to produce fine wines at a reasonable cost. While in the past only indigenous grape varieties were planted, today internationally popular varieties are being favored more and more, i.e cabernet sauvignon, cabernet franc, syrah, merlot, even pinot noir, sauvignon blanc, chardonnay, viognier are just a few that come to mind.

The most popular indigenous red varieties are tempranillo, bobal, garnacha, graciano, listan negro, mazuelo, mencia, monastrell (aka mourvedre, mataro). For whites, the following are poplar – xarello, verdejo, pedro ximenez, palomino, parellada, moscatel de Alexandria, malvasia, macabeo, lourerio, albarino, garnacha blanca, godello and airen. After a hiatus of five years, in 2016 62 Spanish wineries visited Toronto to pour their wines to an eager trade and media people, then later for consumers.

I tasted 78 wines of which I scored 10 percent 90 or above, and 34.6 88 – 89.
The food of the event was Spanish in origin prepared by the staff at Ontario Art Gallery.
The cheeses; murcia al vino, manchego, mahon, garrotxa, served with membrillo (quince paste), cava jelly and wild honey.

The food – croquettas de jamon Serrano, dates stuffed with mahon, wrapped in Iberico panchetta, mini grilled cheese sandwiches, patatas with roasted tomato aioli, pan tomate with Serrano ham, grilled and marinates octopus in extra virgin olive oil with sherry vinegar and sun-dried paprika.
Most of the wines I tasted are either consignment, or special order and I decided to list only those which scored 89 – 90 and above due to space restrictions.

Paolo Andrea, 2013 Finca El Carril, red

Corazon Loco Premium, 2013, Finca El Carril, red

Alceño 12 Months 2012, Alceno, Jumilla, red
(Cellar for four to five years)

Condado Laxas 2015, As Laxas, Rias Baixas, white

Hecula, 2014, Bodegas Castano, Jumilla, red
Available at Vintages $ 13.95

Casa De La Cera 2012, Bodeags Castano, Jumilla, red
(Cellar for four to five years)

Altos De Corral Single Estate Reserva, 2009, Don Jacobo, Rioja, red

El Nido, 2009, Gil Family Estates

Gran Reserva Rioja, 2004, Faustino, Rioja, red
Vintages , $ 35.95

Prado Enea Gran Reserva 2009, Muga, Rioja
Available at Vintages

Gran Resalte, 2009, Bodegas Resalte, Penafiel, red

Monpole, 2015, CUNE, Rioja, white

Contino Gran Reserva, 2009, CUNE, Rioja, red
Available at Vintages

Luis Peique, Mencia, red

Les Terasses, 2014, Alvaro Palacio, Mencia, red

Del Duque, Gonzales Byass, Xerez de la Frontera
375 ml., $ 39.95
Avaialable at Vitnages

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