Exploring Spain

Exploring Spain

This weekend, Friday October 8th and Saturday October 9th, 2021, travel with City Vino to four regions of Spain. The identity of these regions is forever linked to a specific grape variety or a couple of varieties.

The journey to Spain starts in the lush and green northwest corner of the country, in a winemaking region called Rías Baixas, which is in the region named Galicia. The cool Atlantic breezes make it a perfect climate for producing high-quality wines from the native grape called Albariño. The grape thrives in the soils which are composed of granite and schist, which help retain the grape’s high natural acidity, along with an ocean spray of minerality on the palate. Albariño accounts for 90 percent of the vineyards,  and it is a wine that is perfect with all the local fresh fish.

For our visit to Rías Baixas, we sample the 2019 Bodegas del Palacio de Fefinanes Albariño. This wine has the juicy acidity expected from this area,, as well as the seaside salinity and minerality. Fruity aromas of stone fruit, lemon, and green apple are met with flavors of peach, pear, citrus, and a hint of orange blossom. This is definitely a wine to pair with light fish dishes and shellfish. Mild and medium cheeses will also compliment this wine. 

As we continue the journey through Spain, we head to Jumilla, which is diagonally across the country, toward the southeast corner, along the Mediterranean.  Eighty percent of the vineyards are planted to Monastrell—the Spanish name for the grape known as Mourvèdre in France, and in a few other places called Mataro. Monastrell has meaty and herbaceous aromas, along with strong tannins, and this makes it a good candidate for blending with more vibrant, rich, or spicy grapes like Syrah, Cinsault, or Carignan.

City Vino’s stop in Jumilla gives the opportunity to try the 2020 The Grateful Palate Southern Belle, which is indeed a blend of Monastrell and Syrah. An interesting note is that this wine is aged in Pappy Van Winkle bourbon barrels. The intention was to have a fine wine with a slight bourbon influence. The aromas are of blackberries and blueberries, along with some underlying hints of red fruit, vanilla, and toffee. This full-bodied, rich wine is well balanced, with complex flavors. This wine would pair well with veal, pork, lamb, sausages, game, and other meats, especially if they are grilled. 

Now we travel back up north and to the center region known as Rioja. The region is known for red wines made from the Tempranillo grape, which often has aromas of dark berries and spice on the palate. In addition, the wines are aged for a long time in barrels, giving them a longer ability to age. 

To taste the flavor of Rioja, City Vino presents the 2019 CVNE Ecológico Organic which is 100 percent Tempranillo, grown organically and produced by a bodega founded in 1879, and which has long roots in Rioja’s wine history. This complex, balanced wine has aromas of blackberries, currants, raspberries, plums and dried herbs, along with traces of spice. On your palate you may pick up flavors of raspberries, red plums, bramble fruit, and blackberries, with barrel flavors of vanilla and a light char. This wine is delightful with Mediterranean spiced foods, pasta dishes, ham, and cheese and charcuterie boards.

The final stop in Spain is a bit south and east of Rioja, closer to the coast and is Priora—a small wine region in Catalonia. The predominant red grape in the region is Garnacha. which is called Grenache in France and elsewhere. The soils in Priorat are a kind of slate called llicorella.

City Vino’s stop in Priorat features the 2017 Casa Rojo Maquinon,which is made from 100 percent Garnacha. The vineyards are farmed biodynamically, and the wine is aged for five months in French oak. This wine is medium-bodied, with medium acidity and tannins. It has a beautiful cherry-red color with purple hues. On the nose, there is intense ripe red berries, which are echoed on the palate. Expect some spice, coffee, and smoke from this wine. As with Grenaches from around the world, this is a wine that pairs beautifully with grilled red meats. For cheese pairing, try some stronger cheeses.

Come explore and enjoy Spain with us!


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