Spanish delights

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Somehow, Spain seems to fly under the radar compared to its next door neighbour, France. Spain is actually the third largest wine producer in the world and has the most land dedicated to vineyards–over a million acres. Spanish wines range from great values to highly prestigious wines, such as Vega Silicia’s Unico.

Northwest “Green” Spain

Galicia, very unlike the rest of Spain, is where lush green valleys are plentiful and the common cuisine includes lots of fresh fish. Albariño is the champion grape of the sub-region called Rias Baixas (RYE-us BYE-shus), which skirts the coast. The area specializes in zesty white wines and a few aromatic red wines made with Mencia in the Bierzo & Monterrei Region which is also famous for the whites of Godello and Treixadura.

Mediterranean Coast

The coast is a very diverse macro-region that contains the sub-regions of Valencia, Catalonia and Murcia. Catalonia is known for Cava (Spanish sparkling wine) and a highly acclaimed red wine sub-zone, Priorat based on Garnacha but also the up and coming Terra Alta Region. Valencia and Murcia are warmer growing regions that produce a bulk of value wines from deep red Monastrell especially in the Jumilla Region.

Ebro River Valley

The sub regions of La Rioja and Navarra are found in the Ebro River Valley. Here, Tempranillo is king. Rioja produces some of the most age worthy wines. Navarra produces a large volume of rosado (rosé) wine of Garnacha.  Rioja aging explained: Joven – a young wine with no oak aging; Crianza – A minimum of one year in casks and a few months in the bottle. For white wines, the minimum cask aging period is 6 months.; Reserva – aged for a minimum of 3 years, with at least one year in casks. ; Gran Reserva – Selected wines from exceptional vintages which have spent at least 2 years in oak casks and 3 years in the bottle.

Duero River Valley

The Duero River is the same river as the Douro in Portugal. This region is notable for the rich white Verdejo of Rueda and the red wines of Toro, Ribera del Duero and Leon. The wine grape of Toro, called Tinta de Toro,  and Ribera del Duero called Tinto País or Tinto Fino are local synonyms for Tempranillo.

Central Plateau

Because of its climate characteristics, vines are spaced very far apart and close to the ground. Some of the best value red wines made of Monastrell, Syrah, Tempranillo and Garnacha come from this area. And some serious contenders from districts such as Mentrida based on Graciano & Cencibel (Tempranillo).

 

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Spanish Wine Week Tasting

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As part of #SpanishWineWeek we will be running a drop in tasting of Spanish wines Friday 15th March. We will have everything from Albarino to Tempranillo and loads more in-between. We will have a selection of wines from all over Spain including Bierzo, Rioja, Rueda, Ribera, Jumilla and Terra Alta open for sampling on the night. Admission is free and the tasting takes place in our shop from 17.00 -20.00 Friday 15th April.

Foodie Forum 2015

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Last Tuesday we were delighted to be invited to give a presentation at The Foodie Forum 2015 in GMIT. The Foodie Forum is an interactive one day experience that showcases the abundance and variety of food on offer in Ireland and in particular along the West Coast. The day includes a series of Master classes with leading chefs and food & wine workshops, which we were privileged to be part of. We had lined up a tasting of Spanish wines and you can download our presentation here.

 

Gorú’s Puppet Brother

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Last year we added the two lovely wines from Ego Bodegas to our portfolio, and the reaction, well lets just say these wines flew out the door. So when we were re-ordering from the guys in sunny Spain we added a few of their other wines to the order. Including the wonderful Marionette opposite. The grapes for the Marionette are selected from the best vineyards carefully and according to specific requirements. The blend consists of equal parts of Monastrell and Syrah that is matured for 2-3 months in oak barrels. Fresh and fruity aromas of black fruits and hints of spice on the nose and an intense red-violet colour. The fruity notes of dark berries combine with subtle oak notes in a seamless red wine, which is just too drinkable! Supple tannins  on the palate round out the a lovely fruity red. This wine is easy to enjoy one its own, but it also accompanies Mediterranean salads and grilled vegetables.

Ego Bodegas has 25 hectares of vineyard, with varieties such as Tempranillo, Syrah, and the local hero, Monastrell,  which are about 50 years old. They are situated in a privileged location in the Jumilla region of Spain.  The climate of the area is continental, influenced by its proximity to the Mediterranean on the east side and La Mancha plateau on the west side. It is a sunny and dry climate, with scant rains. The average annual temperature is 16º, with cold winters that reach temperatures below zero and hot summer of temperatures exceeding 40º. It is in these baking hot days of summer that the Monastrell grapes ripen.