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I never get enough of Spanish wines and I hope you feel the same way. Otherwise, I’m going to have to drink a lot of good red wine from Spain on my own. This time we are embarking upon a virtual tour of the more important wine producing areas as defined by the “Demoninacion de Origen”, Spain’s organization for appellation control. The main grapes are Tempranillo, Garnacha and Cariñena.
Cordorniu Pinot Noir Brut Cava, Penedès
The Penedès wine district, some 40 kilometres south of Barcelona where the Codorníu Cellars are located, represents more than 95% of total production of cava. Spain’s first rosé cava is made entirely from the stylish pinot noir grape and is an attractive salmon pink with firm and assertive bubbles. It is a pale cherry-red color with aromas of recently picked and deliciously ripe summer fruits, particularly raspberries and blackcurrants. The flavors are berry-like and fresh with a very subtle lemony citrus flavor.
2004 Montoya Vino de Aragon
Aragon borders France in the middle of the Pyrenees and is flanked by Catalonia on the east. The Ebro River area is where most of the vineyards are to be found. This wine is a very nice blend of Spain’s two most famous grapes, Tempranillo and Garnacha. The fruit tones lean to cherry and raspberry and are well balanced with spicy oak and structured rich tannins. It provides a good accompaniment to meats and cheeses.
2006 Onix Classic, Priorat
The Priorat is located about 100 miles southwest of Barcelona in central southern Tarragona, an area characterized by its black slate soils. Here the late harvested and low yielding Cariñena (50%) and Grenache (50%) grapes have been sourced from steep hillside vineyards that have survived extraordinarily dry conditions The result is a wine with spicy, mineral-accented raspberry on the nose. Fresh, red berry flavors are complicated by floral and anise notes, and finish with good acidity. It seems devoid of tannins, but moderate acidity lends great lift to the middle and to the lingering finish.
2000 Campo Viejo Gran Reserva, Rioja
Rioja has been fought over by so many belligerents over the centuries the grapes were often trod on before leaving the vine. The wine is garnet cherry-red in color with aromas of stewed fruit, wood, and spicy nuances. It shows a lot of character and delivers a long finish. The aging process takes five years (two in oak casks, three in the bottle). This is an elegant wine that is a wonderful complement to beef rib roast, sauced meats, casseroles and aged cheese.
2004 Liberalia Tres, Toro
The name of the winery is taken from the celebrations which were held in the ancient Roman civilization in honor of the god Liber (also known as Bacchus) to celebrate the passing of children into puberty. Of course, a great deal of wine was consumed during the Bacchanalia. The vineyard is 25 to 80 years of age 90% of which is planted to Tinto de Toro. The grape delivers a wine with an outstanding body of fruit: blackberry and raspberry with a hint of licorice. There is a subtle background of wood focused on vanilla with an element of cinnamon.
2001 Garcia Figuero Crianza Tempranillo, Ribera del Duero
This region lies on the country’s northern plateau and is one of five wine regions within the autonomous community of Castile and León. It is also one of several recognized wine-producing regions to be found along the course of the Duero River. Eighty-percent of the Tempranillo grapes used in this wine come from 20-40 year-old vines, with the remaining 20-percent from 50 year-old vines. The wine is aged for twelve months in two-plus year-old barrels (90-percent American and 10-percent French oak). It is then aged an additional two years in bottle before leaving the cellar. The deep red fruit has a cherry bias and is accompanied by a hint of coffee. Spice elements round out the full bodied wine.