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La Cata de los Lacres 2008

Editors Note:La Cata de Los Lacres is an annual event put on by Todovino. Todovino is both a wine club and the publisher of la Guía (Spanish Only), a popular annual wine guide covering the gamut of Spanish wines currently available on the market. This is the 6th annual event, which represents a selection of wines that have received the highest rankings in ‘la Guía’ from the same year of the event. La Cata de Los Lacres is an invitation only event and hosted annually at the Palace Hotel in downtown Madrid. 32 bodegas were at this years event.

Imagine walking into a tasting room knowing that all the wines available are the best wines in their style/category. Thirty of the best, and highest quality, wines available in Spain assembled in one location for journalists, wine lovers and fellow wine makers to taste and peruse. You can agree or disagree as to which is best or worst, but in the end, the wines are not your everyday swill. Needless to say, it is a wine lover’s dream.

Two years ago, I walked into this exact same tasting with one of the worst head colds I ever have had. I was supposed to meet a wine maker to set up a visit to his winery, and unbeknownest to me, it wasn’t a coffee we would share, but a line up of wines similar to the ones I saw today. I remember choking back tears as I attempted to discern any flavor beyond bitter and dry. By the end of the day, I ran home and like a little kid teased in the school yard and cried into my pillow, not realizing in my daze that this would become an annual event for me and not a once in a lifetime opportunity.

So this year, I was happy to not only have all my senses intact, but also an entire day to spend savoring these fantastic wines. Was it a dream tasting? A moment I’ll never forget? An experience like no other? No, but it was fun. Sadly, as we all know, wines at large tastings suffer from palate fatigue and sore body parts from being on ones feet all day. Not optimal but I’m not complaining, considering that I did have a chance to taste glimpses of greatness. I took my time throughout this event; and rather than taking notes, I tasted each wine and looked for things that I thought were worth exploring further in better conditions.

Below is a list of all the wines I tasted. You’ll notice a + sign next to some of them. These are wines that I found to be special, not because they were better or worse than the others, but because they stood out in a sea of wines that honestly blew my mind. Not one wine was a total disappointment. All of these wines were amazing in one way or another but some jumped out from the rest. In part, it may be due to their uniqueness, but often I think it was due to the way they cut through a sea of similar flavors and characteristics. I do, and will, recommend all these wines. Granted, not every wine is for every person, but I know people in my life for whom each wine was made for. Like the clients in my store, not every wine, no matter how great, was made for every palate.

Cheers, Ryan

Finally a very short slideshow of a few personalities at the event. If you click through to flickr you can see who is who!

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