When it comes to European wines most of us confine our search to the abundant offerings from France or Italy. But our resident Sommelier Tony Cox discovers the wines of Spain represent some of the best value wines to be found with a weight and richness that is engaging.
A few friends recently got together to explore a small but delicious offering of atypical Spanish wines where we all pitched in and prepared matching dishes for an evening of fun and conversation. All in the name of research and to inspire you, dear reader!
FIRST wine served was the NV Lonia Cava, a sparkling wine made using the traditional method used in Champagne but with three indigenous varietals: Parellada, Macabeo and Xarello and a little chardonnay thrown in. Fresh and lively it features green apple notes with yeasty overtones, indicative of yeast autolysis derived from the method of making. For those who like a drier, less fruity, style of sparkling closer to Champagne this is a great entry point. Better still, the gazpacho and tortilla that matched it, went down a treat.
SECOND up was the 2020 Bodegas Valdemar Conde Valdemar Rosé which is 70% garnacha (grenache) and 30% viura (also known as macabeo). The resultant wine is pale pink and fresh with red fruits, a little pepper from the grenache, a decided savoury-ness and clean acidity to close. The sardine fillets with salsa verde were absolutely fantastic, the oiliness of the fish cut beautifully by the freshness of the rosé . A chorizo and chickpea stew with deft use of paprika also worked beautifully with this drop.
THIRD course saw two red wines served from the 2017 vintage but different grape varietals and regions. The Bodegas Valdemar Conde Valdemar Crianza from Rioja was a delightfully balanced wine. 90% tempranillo with 19 months’ ageing in American oak it featured dark fruits, a very plush mid palate with vanilla and sweet spice notes from the oak. The second red was Torres Salmos from Priorat, a blend of carignan, grenache and syrah which features plum and red fruits, a precision through the middle and back palate from the altitude derived acidity and elegant tannins to close. Slow-braised lamb shoulder and Basque lamb accompanied by patatas bravas transported all of us to Spain, with some flash dance moves, reminiscent of flamenco, starting to come to the fore by that stage of the evening.
FINALLY the evening concluded with a flourless chocolate cake served with Valdespino’s Pedro Ximenez from the Jerez region. Liquid raisins with spectacular viscosity, a great way to close.
Overall, a great way to experience a selection of delicious wines with regional Spanish dishes with great company in a relaxed setting.