Spain and Portugal comprise what is known as the “Iberian Peninsula.” Spain is attached to Europe with a border to the north on the eastern side with France. Portugal is to the west of Spain, taking up much of the western coast of the peninsula.
Being on a peninsula, Spain experiences a variety of climates from region to region. The center part of Spain experiences the extremes, with very hot summers and cold winters. The northwest corner of the country, Galicia, is called “Green Spain,” due to the cool ocean breezes and many rivers that keep the area lush and green. In the southern part of Spain, the climate is arid, with heavy winds making it hard to grow grapes. The Mediterranean to the east allows the coast to experience warm temperatures with cool breezes. Finally, the area that borders France is protected from heavy rains by the Pyrenees mountains.
This week at City Vino is Spain week, as we explore the wines of the country with our weekend tasting on Friday, June 25th and Saturday, June 26th. The tasting will feature a fizzy fruit sweet wine, an aromatic white, an aromatic white blend, and a juicy fruit forward red.
We start our exploration into Spain with the 2018 Emporio Wines Gerberas Garnacha, from Aragon, which is between Madrid and Barcelona. This wine, made from 100 percent Garnacha (Grenache), comes from vineyards that are about 30 years old, located at elevations between 1,300- and 2,000-feet, taking advantage of the cooler temperatures. The skins of the grapes are in contact with the wine for only three to four days, lessening tannin levels and keeping the wine fruity and softer. This wine has a deep purple color and aromatic notes and flavors of juicy ripe red fruit, along with some floral notes and a hint of white pepper. Consider pairing this wine with meats, pastas, or hard cheeses.
Our next region of Spain to explore is the middle inland regions in the north, where the Verdejo grape is prominent like Castilla y León and Rueda. The non-vintage Palacio de Bornos Frizzante Verdejo is a blend of grapes from a few vineyard sites. The wine is 100 percent Verdejo, with a light fizz (frizzante style) and a low alcohol level of only 5.5 percent. The grapes are fermented in a pressure-controlled tank, and fermentation is stopped when the desired sweetness remains, yielding a wine that is light in alcohol, fruity, fizzy, and sweet. A nice alternative to Moscato, this wine has citrus, peach, and tropical fruit notes. It pairs well with appetizers, light meals, spicy foods, salty snacks, or medium-sweet desserts.
Another wine from the same general regions of Castilla y León and Rueda is the 2019 Garciarevalo Casamaro Verdejo. The wine is a blend of 85 percent Verdejo and 15 percent Viura (Macabeo). The area where the Verdejo grapes are grown is at high elevation in pine forests by two rivers, which cools the areas by about five degrees, which allows retention of bright acidity in what would be normally a hot climate. This wine has aromas of tropical fruit, freshly cut grass, white blossoms, and a hint of fennel, which is typical of the Verdejo grape. On the palate there are citrus, quince, and fennel notes. This wine would make a good foil for fish prepared delicately, a quiche or frittata, or vegetable dishes. For cheeses, try pairing it with mild cheddar, mozzarella, or provolone.
The 2019 Pares Balta Blanc de Pacs comes from the Penedès region of Spain, which is along the eastern coast south of Barcelona. This organic wine is a blend of the three traditional varieties used for to make Cava. It is comprised of 47 percent Parellada, 31 percent Macabeo, and 22 percent Xarel·lo. For aromatics, there are ripe white orchard fruit, citrus, and white flowers. On the palate, you may find citrus fruit and herbs with floral accents. This wine is a great aperitif with light starters. It is a wine that will pair beautifully with oysters or shellfish, grilled fish, white meats, and salad.
We also have a Zoom tasting of other Spanish wines on Thursday evening June 24th, with Brandon Hamlett of Republic National Distributing Company. If you missed the tasting, the tasting bundle may still be available, which features a sparkling rose cava made from the Trepat grape, a white Albarino blend from Rias Baixas (“Green Spain”), and a white Rioja. Check our website or give us a call.