A Taste of Spain
PRIORAT DOCa, CATALUNYA
One of two of the highest premium wine regions in the whole of Spain, Priorat is a small and tightly defined area of viticulture with a history of winemaking stretching back to monasteries in the 12th Century. Its regard is mainly due to the full bodied and concentrated red wines produced, mainly from old vine Garnacha and Carinena (aka Carignan).
Garnacha grapes here are of the highest concentration due to old vines and low yields, with typical profiles of candied berries and leather. Carinena is its perfect blending partner and suits the high temperatures of the Catalonian climate, producing high tannins and deep colour to add body and vibrance as well as nuances of liquorice, dark fruits and pepper.
La Petite Agnes (£16.80, 14.5%) is an equal blend of Garnacha and Carinena. The complex nose shows minerals, smoke, red
berries and black slate tones alongside subtle ripe blackberries and liquorice. Fresh on the palate with good
acidity and silky, round tannins.
SET (£30.00, 15%) is a varietal Garnacha made with grapes from a low yield single vineyard in the area of Torroja. Only 842 bottles of this wine exist in the world! Aromatic with black fruits and a touch of violet, developing into black fruits, cherries, chocolate, and dried fruits in the mouth. Rich and full bodied with well integrated tannins and a very long finish.
PAIS VASCO (BASQUE COUNTRY)
Pais Vasco on the northern coast of Spain is famous for its production of a white wine style titled 'Txakoli' using indigenous grapes such as Hondarrabi Zuri (bringing citrus, herbal and mineral inflections) and Izkiriote (aka Gros Manseng for high acidity, floral aromas and apricot). They are characteristically refreshing, fruity and high in acidity, often with a slight sparkle.
Hiruzta Txakoli (£15.65,12%) blends 95% Hondarrabi Zuri with 5% Izkiriote for a perfect example. Showing subtle effervescence bringing out aromas of pear, citrus, grapefruit and pineapple enveloped in the perfume of orange blossom. Balanced, sharp and fresh in the mouth.
Hiruzta Berezia Txakoli (£19.45, 13.5%) is a Reserve blend of 85% Hondarrabi Zuri with 15% Izkiriote. Aged on the lees for four months and stirred without aeration once a week, this gentle stabilisation during maturation brings full body and rich aromas of white apple, citrus, grapefruit, pineapple and passion fruit. Also showing refreshing effervescence, this wine is long and enveloping on the palate, with a very persistent finish.
LA MANCHA DO
Part of the Central Plateau wine region, the introduction of traditional French vines and modern winemaking techniques of California and Bordeaux in the 1990's has allowed La Mancha to gain a reputation for many high quality yet fair priced wines. These tend to be wines that blend French grapes with indigenous Spanish grapes, creating familiar wines with a unique dash of Spain. Known for vibrant and bold red wines with hints of smoky bread, as well as light, youthful and refreshing white wines showing citrus and stone fruit.
Castillo del Moro red wine (£7.50, 13.5%) combines the leather and cherries of Spain's Tempranillo with the dark fruit and clay of French Syrah for a soft and fruity dark ruby wine showing red fruits, blueberries, subtle spice and leather.
Castillo del Moro white wine (£7.40, 11.5%) blends French Sauvignon Blanc, known for its permutations from zesty citrus to flowery stone fruits, with the most widely planted white grape in Spain, Airen- a grape bringing youthful dry crispness to the mix. A bright, lemon-coloured wine showing grass, subtle grapefruit, citrus tang and fresh length.
Their Rose wine (£7.40, 12%) is bright and crisp, made from 100% Tempranillo grapes.Strawberries and cherries dominate the nose and palate for an exceptionally fruity, yet dry, rose.
Hello World (£11.15, 14%) is a varietal of the Cabernet Franc grape, originally from Spain's Basque Country. An excellent grape for complex and ageing-friendly wines, this example has delicious aromas of raspberry jam and spicy green grass, becoming a luscious mouthful of dark red fruit and forest floor with soft tannins and a long, spicy finish.