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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One for Him this Valentines

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With Valentines day hurtling towards us rapidly we would like to recommend a nice bottle of red for the special man in your life. The Manium Crianza has all his wants wrapped up in one handy bottle! Its got a nice picture of an oldie style warrior, a little story about Homus Manium and to top it of a lovely drop of wine inside.

Homus Manium, was the name given by the Romans to the inhabitants of Bierzo because of their resistance and fortitude. Tiny hamlets, misty hills, running water, the passing of pilgrims lost in thought, thatched silos, all harmonise with the native variety, Mencía, rooted to rocks of quartz and slate, to make Bierzo a magical land for wines. 50-100 year old vines on terraced slopes are hand harvested and produce low yields of no more than 1.2kg per vine. 100% Mencia, spending 12-14 in French Oak Barrels.  The wine is a deep crimson colour that indicates the intensity and concentration of the wine. On the nose, there is plenty of toasty oak character, spice and pencil shavings overlaying a heady mix of blackberry, cassis and violets. On the palate, the structure is firm but with sweet tannins and an elegant, silky finish.

And to make it even better you can save €4.00 this February as the Manium  is on offer @€13.95 (Norm. €17.95)