No other country in the world has a greater area under vines than Spain. It is truly a country where the wine is produced in every corner. Thus, there are many different types of wine and many different styles. Fortunately, there is an excellent chance to learn more about Spanish wine, the annual Spanish wine day. This is a day when the wine importers showcase their Spanish wines. In many cases the winemakers also participate to get a chance to talk to the wine consuming public about their wines.
In total there are several hundred different wines to try, which means you do not have time to taste more than a fraction. Here are the wines that I thought were most interesting. Of those I had time to try.
The sparkling wine cava is often of very good quality and can certainly be similar to very good champagne. But it is even more interesting when they make cava in its own style, a little fresher. Here are two good examples of very fresh and fine cava.
Cavas Avinyó Gran Reserva La Ticota 2008 Brut Nature
The wine has spent four years on thelees and has some toasted-bread-notes that are balanced well by a fine acidity. The wine has good length and a well composed finish. Very nice sparkling.
Vallformosa Gran Baron Cava Brut NV
A fairly full-bodied wine with nice apple style and very good acidity, the wine has a hint of sweetness which is nicely compensated by a good acid.
Bierzo is a region that more and more people are waking up to, in particular the grape Mencia who can give very nice wines with a little blueberry character (more on that later). But there are also white wines, including from the Godello grape.
Bodegas Godelia Blanco 2013
The wine is made from 80% Godello and 20% dona blanca. The wine is initially a bit smoky with notes of flint and minerals. A few hints of apples emerge, the acidity has a citrus style and the wine has a nice finish.
Bodegas Godelia Selección Blanco 2013
100% Godello. Similar to the wine above but with more of the mineral tones. The wine also has more body and the finish is longer. Just a notch up in quality from the wine above.
Bodegas Ramírex de la Piscina Gran Reserva 2001
This was a very interesting wine from Rioja. Rioja is often reputed to taste like a mixture of crayfish and dill (ed. note: this is a peculiar Swedish characterisation of traditional Rioja), which often has gone to extremes. This wine shows a very different side of Rioja. The wine is well balanced with a hint of berries and is quite light. The fruit feels cool but still has elements of dates and a little darker fruits without feeling sweet. Very beautiful.
El Castro de Valtuille Villegas 2012
Bodegas y Viñedos Castro Ventosa had a couple of different wines. El Castro de Valtuille Villegas 2012 was my favourite. This is a very good wine made from Mencia grapes from vines that are over 80 years old. The grapes are fermented in whole bunches and it has had around 35 days of maceration. This means that the wine is not cheap and you have to pay around 40 euros for a bottle. For this you get a wine with dark fruit, blueberries and blackberries and some black currant. The acidity is very good and the wine has a long and pleasant finish.
El Castro de Valtuille Mencía Joven 2013
El Castro de Valtuille Mencía Joven 2013 can be considered the little brother of the wine above and is a very good wine for a lot less money (10€). Highly recommended.
Bodegas Gordelia Tinto 2011
Bodegas Gordelia Tinto 2011 is a wine made from Mencia and has very dark fruit and berries reminiscent of blackberry, but also hints of blueberries. The acidity is high, which balances the wine in a good way. The aftertaste is long and very pleasant.
Cells Mas Doix were represented with two wines.
Les Crestes 2013 Cells Mas Doix
Les Crestes 2013 had lightish fruit and a long and fine aftertaste, the acidity was very prominent but still in balance. An elegant wine that is likely to become better and better.
Salanques 2012 Cells Mas Doix
Comparing Salanques 2012 with Les Crestes the Salanques is a bit hotter (more alcohol) and had a hint of perfume. The wine was very rich and probably appeals most to those who like powerful wines from the New World.
Prior Scala Dei 2013
Another very nice wine from Priorat was made by Bodegas Cellars de Scala and was named Prior Scala Dei 2013. The wine is still somewhat closed and probably needs some time in bottle before it really comes into its own. But the balance was very nice and the wine was quite cool and elegant.
Cellers Capafons-Osso Sirsell 2007
Cellers Capafons-Osso Sirsell 2007 was another fine example of a wine from Priorat. The wine is full-bodied and well balanced. The tannins are great and the wine feels a little rough but gets a nice freshness from the high acidity.
Bodegas Gran Clos has long been a favourite of mine and they showed an interesting vertical tasting of Finca el Puig, a wine that I think has performed very well year after year.
Finca el Puig
Finca el Puig 2009: The wine is beginning to show some mature tones and you get some mushroom and leather mixed with concentrated dark fruit, such as blackberries and black currants. The wine is very good now and the acidity and the tannins are well balanced.
Finca el Puig 2002 is a very interesting wine where the leather tones are becoming more prominent. Despite the obvious signs of aging the fruit is still evident. The acidity is a little lower than in the 2009. The wine is very well balanced and has a very long and fine aftertaste.
Finca el Puig, 2001 is similar to 2002, but a little bit more low-key in the fruit and a notch better overall. Absolutely incredibly good right now.
Finca el Puig 2000: This too is a great wine but I think it was just slightly beaten by 2002 and 2001.
Overall, I would rank them in the order of 2001, 2002, 2000, 2009. A really good wine at a very good price which shows that they are clearly capable of 10-20 years of ageing without any problems.
Bodega Gran Clos also has a wine called Gran Clos which is the big brother. A nice wine that is a bit more expensive and generally a bit better.
Bodegas Los Frailes Monastrell 2014
Bodegas Los Frailes Valencia had brought a Monastrell (Mourvèdre) from 2014. Mourvèdre is a grape variety that you rarely seen alone. Usually it is one among grapes in eg Priorat or Rhone wines. To have the opportunity to taste the grape as a solo is always interesting and gives you the chance to get a deeper understanding of the role it plays in blends. This wine was very exciting. It started with a floral scent, and then continue with a lot of wild berries. The wine had quite low tannins with a relatively long and pleasant finish.
Tobias Karlsson writes on BKWine Magazine on wine tastings with wine merchants and importers.
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