1. How good would you say your selection of Spanish wines and Portuguese wines are in your local wine market? If you exclude Port/Rioja/ and Sherry how is the selection?
Fantastic actually. There is one shop in particular called, The Spanish Table which features Spanish and Portuguese wines but the majority are from Spain. Great depth and decent pricing. We also have a couple of find Spanish restaurants and one in particular with an extensive Spanish wine list that impresses my Spanish wine drinking friends when they come from out of town, called HARVEST VINE. Even excluding Port/Rioja and Sherry … this is a pretty good market place to find the wines and in restaurants as well. Priorat is a local hit over the past two or three years around here and we’ve done some great Priorat focused offline wine dinners.
2. What’s the last Spanish or Portuguese wine you had and what did you think of it? Would you buy it again? Got a tasting note?
Here was my last Portuguese wine although since then I have had three Priorats as well. But I wanted to include a recent TN:
1999 Casa Ferreirinha (Ferreira) Callabriga, Douro Red – I first tasted this after some Barolo and a pair of Amarone wines and it was a rough adjustment. Two sips later, all was well. It was clear this needed some time in decanter and we then served it along with dinner and the other wines. It paired extremely well with the Osso Bucco our friends had prepared.
There was a smoky note along with cherry pipe tobacco and cedar which were made even more exotic by the meat we were eating. Big, smooth and sumptuous plum and dark red berry flavors prevailed along with a slight hint of pepper that was evident on the very long, succulent finish. A classy wine that still is showing some rounded tannins and this is nearing its peak drinking window. I believe this is made at Quinta da Leda, which is the top Douro red wine facility owned by Ferreira these days. The grapes include Tinta Roriz and both Tourigas — Franca & Nacional. Enjoy this beauty now or over the next five years. I am going to save my last bottle of this for the end of the decade with a great leg of lamb dinner! 91 points
1. What is one question you have about Iberian wine in general?
What is the real difference between the Pedro Ximenez grape from Jerez and Malaga?
Well, as always the exceptions are many, but one interesting difference in the wines made from PX in Malaga and in Jerez is this: in Jerez, it is common to harvest the ripe PX grapes and let them then dry on large straw mats in the sun until they turn to raisins before pressing them to make the sweet nectar we know as Pedro Ximenez, while in Malaga, they too follow this practice but they also have a tradition of first pressing the grapes and creating the rich sweet must which is then reduced down, either with the addition of heat or evaporation from the sun, till the juice becomes syrup like. At this point, this syrup is then fermented to create the PX wines of Malaga. On the other hand, both regions age their PX wines in the traditional Solera system, which are a system of barrels where fractional blending occurs. The main difference lies in the blend. While both regions make pure PX wines, in Jerez they are occasionally blended with a bit of Palomino Fino, while in Malaga, they are blended with Moscatel.
Thanks for the question, because even I had to do a bit research to come up with the answer to your question!
For those of you looking for wines that Roy talked about, he is located in Sammamish, Washington State, USA and I’m sure if you visit his forum you can find out more about Roy’s other favorite wine haunts!