Here are the six wines that Karen Macneil felt best exhibited the new trends in Spanish Wines.
1. Vionta Albarino 2006, D.O. Rias Baixas
This hot grape makes the perfect crossover white wine since it pairs beautifully with California cuisine, Italian food or most any fish dish. Bright, crisp and brimming with energy-a good pick if you’ve had enough oak already!
2.Naia Verdejo 2005, D.O. Rueda
Karen credited the New York Times with coming up with the perfect description for this wine–“Like Pinot Grigio with a Brain!” Fresh and lively, offering fruit, citrus and some mineral notes that would work well with any foods cooked with herbs.
3. Finca Antigua Reserva 2001, D.O. La Mancha
A buyer in the audience beautifully described this Merlot-based ruby red as “smelling of Spain:a sweet dustiness combining oak and earth.” Aged for 18 months in French oak, soft tannin and flavors of pomegranate and cranberry.
4. Dominio de Tares “Exaltos” Mencia Cepas Viejas 2003, D.O. Bierzo
If you like “Zins” than you’ll love Mencia- brimming with berry and spice. A perfect example of combining the old and the new, this new/old region is made up of slate-based soil with 90 year old vines that until recently had been abandoned.
5. Roda I Reserva 2002, D.O. Ca. Rioja
You will find the Tempranillo in the wines of Rioja more subtle than it is in the other famous regions that use this grape. Roda is a modern producer that brings a new elegance to this traditional favorite. Compared to other fine reds, this is a steal at around $65.
6. Pedro Domecq Palo Cortado ” Sibarita” VORS 30 years, D.O. Jerez
There was some grumbling when Karen announced that our last tasting would be a sherry. However, after one sip, the groans quickly turned to “oohs and ahhs.” Only 300 cases of this ambrosia are bottled so if you can find some, snap it up. This is no great-grandmother-sitting in the library sipping a little after-dinner sherry.
A chilled bottle of this sherry would pair beautifully with some salty nuts, anchovy-stuffed olives, mushrooms sautéed in olive oil and garlic, or herb grilled prawns.