Tasting both Old and New Spanish Wines from Catalonia
In the Dining and Wine Edition of the New York Times, we found a great article about a Spanish wine tasting in New York on wines from our home-region of Catalunya. Eric Asimov writes of his recent experience tasting 23 bottles of red wine from DO Montsant with Florence Fabricant, Ron Miller – the general manager of a Spanish restaurant in Manhattan called Solera, and Rafael Mateo – owner of a gourmet wine and tapas bar opening this November in Manhattan called Pata Negra (translating to “black footed pig which makes the famous Iberico ham). Overall, it appears that Eric was extremely impressed with the wines, not only for their QVP, but also for their ability to enjoyed young – providing character without being ostentatious. It is no secret that we wholeheartedly agree with Eric, finding wines of Montsant not only of high quality, but of unique character as well. Beyond that, we are also excited to see regions other than Priorat and Rioja getting some extra attention on the opposite side of the big pond. If you’ve stumbled across some Montsant wines as of recent that you’ve enjoyed, please let us know.
Mariano Garcia, the Number 1 Winemaker in Spain
I really enjoyed this article, if for no other reason than it gives me one more person to place on my list of “Fabulously Ingenious Spanish Winemakers”, including but not restricted to: Jaime Torres, Manuel Raventós and Rene Barbier. Pushing the social boundaries as to what is considered “good Spanish winemaking practices”, Mariano has made a name for himself from creating insanely great wine from barren land and dry. “Mariano is the great man of Spanish wine. He’s the No. 1 winemaker in the country. A whole school of people have been mentored by Mariano,” as quoted from one of the leading Spanish wine authorities, Victor de la Serna, by the La Times. As if being the Chief Winemaker for Vega Sicilia wasn’t impressive enough, he’s also recognized s making DO Ribera del Duero the prominent winemaking region it is today. Not a bad reputation if you ask me. With three established and successful wineries under his belt – Bodegas Mauro, in Tudela de Duero; Bodegas Maurodos, in the DO Toro; and Bodegas Aalto, in the Valladolid subregion of DO Ribera del Duero – Marciano has been showcased as the new face of Spain.
The 42 Million Euro Spanish Wine Temple
Coming from Minneapolis, MN, I am intimately familiar with the elegant curves and futuristic designs of Frank Gehry. Other than our infinitely expanding Mall of America, Minneapolis has crowned Gehry’s Art Museum as one of their prized architectural pieces.
Still, after reading the article posted in Expatica on the newest Gehry addition to La Rioja, the Marquis de Riscal Hotel, I am torn once again between whether I should be in shock over the sheer beauty of this hotel or its value. Being a humanist at heart, just ask my husband how many trees I’ve hugged in my life, I would like to believe in my own Utopian way that I help both the impoverished and the rich appreciate a basic aliment of life, wine. Gehry mimicked my feeling in his creation of both the Guggenheim and the Weisman Art Museums, easily accessible gifts to anyone who appreciates both beauty and art. However, where the Marques de Riscal Hotel fails in affordability, as the article dutifully touches upon, makes up in sheer awe as a testament to Rioja. I enjoyed reading about the history of the hotel, the frivolousness and the contradiction/compliment to shares with one of the oldest bodegas in Spain.
Lots of Cheese, Grommit, Cheese!
On the topic of the Midwest, and what I would like to consider the cheese capital of the western world, Fork and Bottle has posted the results from their artisan and farmstead cheese pairing project. Being the enormous cheese afficionados we are living in the land of Manchego, we had a fabulous time seeking out cheeses that we’d never tried, figuring that the best pairing would be with equally unfamiliar Spanish wine. We actually enjoyed this project so much that we’ve been chatting about doing another one! Thanks so much Jack for hosting, while providing us with yet, another reason, to experiment with food and Iberian wine pairings!
Wine Blog Wednesday: Passionate Spanish Wine
This past month’s WBW was hosted by Michelle and John at My Wine Education who had tried four bottles themselves, giving a big thumb’s up to both the Segura Viudas Brut Reserva Cava, NV, Torrelavit DO, $6.99 (50% macabeo, 35% parellada, 15% xarel-lo) and the Garnacha de Fuego, Old Vines 2006, Atteca, Calatayud DO, $8.99! Two fun suggestions to look out for. We also received several entries of our own from an informal survey we conducted among our friends here in Spain for which we are very grateful. Thanks again everyone for your participation, and keep watch for the final WBW list on value-priced Spanish wines!
There is Cheap White Wine in Rias Baixes
This article couldn’t come at a better time after just giving kudos to My Wine Education for hosting VALUE-PRICED SPANISH WINES, Stina Wirsén from Food & Wine just published an article on the lack of value-priced wines that convey terroir – a term still completely allusive and abstract to everyone but the 1% of wine geeks out there. Her goal was to find wines from obscure parts of the world that all contained: a long viticultural history; varietals that have either been rediscovered or improved in some way; and have innovative winemakers utilizing modern winemaking practices with native grapes. Yet when naming “obscure” regions, she mentions places such as Rias Baixes and the Duero, which would have been accurate five years ago, but have now gained a significant amount of press and notariety for their fantastic wines. Later in the article, when focused on Spanish specific terroir says, “I didn’t find many characterful cheap whites in Spain. In fact, there is only one region where they’re consistently made: Rías Baixas.” When I read this, I was speechless. Absolutely speechless. What about Rueda, Txacoli, Cava, Ribeiro, Campo del Borja, Somotano, Valdeorras or Sherry just to name a few? Is she telling me that she couldn’t find 1 producer outside of Rias Baixes that is both obscure and has all the characteristics she calls for that reflect terroir? We could obviously go on for hours on the subject, but we’d rather hear from you. Let us know what you think about the article, and give us your favorite “obscure” whites from Spain in the comments!