Last weekend, we had the opportunity to take a two hour bus ride down to Malpica, located southeast of Madrid near the Tajo river. The fabulous occasion was an invitation to the Osborne Malpica Property – home of the infamous Osborne Solaz- to see an art opening, and by all standards, a fun thing to do on a beautiful Sunday morning when one would normally still be asleep after a gregarious night in Madrid. By the end of the visit, we agreed that the art was less than stellar and that we never received a tour of the bodega nor the vineyard; however, not only were we able to see their miles and miles of vines, but we also tried some fun wine.
Now, we’ve seen a lot of vines in our lifetime. In fact, we’d go so far to say that we’ve seen more than most; and yet, we don’t ever remember seeing 1500 hectares (3706.58 acres) of unbroken vineyards. You almost feel like you are on another planet as you look across deep brown trunks and wires for what seems like infinity. What makes this image even more dramatic is the way the red earth of La Mancha glows against the green grass that is planted between every row of vines to help control moisture loss.. Dizzying and breathtaking to say the least, we found ourselves mesmerized, trying to see the point at which they stretched no further.
The winery itself is a whitewashed stone structure that rises up out of the vines like a palm tree oasis in the Sahara desert – beckoning travelers to stop and rest awhile. Fortunately for us, this particular oasis was clever enough to turn its water into wine.
Although fiscally, I suppose one could debate this particular argument when looking at the price of a bottle of water nowadays, but that’s another conversation entirely. Upon entry into the bodega, we perused a bit on the first floor, but were herded rapidly into their tasting room where we were given copious amounts to sip contently all while nibbling a bit of Manchego cheese and Iberian ham. Not a bad deal considering we paid nothing for the entire adventure.
However, being that we were at Osborne, we sort of expected something a little bit more interesting than the typical mediocre wines served at art openings – not that we’ve been to several here in Spain. There were a fair number of wines to choose from, not withstanding the famous Osborne Solaz, but also a few whites and reds. Gabriella chose white, called Gadir – a play on the original spelling of the name Cadiz, whereas Ryan tried the Solaz, which turns out to be the Tempranillo/Syrah blend and not the more typical Tempranillo/Cabernet blend that you find throughout the wine retail world.
We both have had the Tempranillo/Cabernet blend several times in the States and has always presented itself as a great wine for the price. The Tempranillo/ Syrah is also a great wine for the price and presented other traits equally appealing. Ryan thoroughly enjoyed the Gadir, finding it to have an incredible bouquet and a long creamy finish; whereas Gabriella found the bouquet equally notable, but had doubts as to the creamy fruit forward nature on the palate.
As the art part wrapped up later in the day we once again headed back down to the tasting room where we had the chance to try the last wine of the day. Plural is a wine whose first vintage was 2003. Made from an Franco/Spanish blend here is how the [Osborne Wine Website->http://www.osborne.es] describes Plural, retail 12+/-Euros:
Red wine from Tierra de Castilla. The result of an extraordinary “assemblage” of Merlot, Petit Verdot, Shiraz and Cabernet Sauvignon. It was intensely macerated during the initial fermentation stages and then was left to age for fourteen months in new American and French oak barrels and then finished in the bottle.
We both found it interesting but in all honesty we were a bit too tired at that point to analyze anything and both agreed to go back and visit this wine later when we had a nice mean to accompany it!
By the end of the day, we were thoroughly pleased with our little outing. Although we didn’t walk away with a new abstract “Picasso” like painting to hang in our flat, we did have a wonderful time wandering through a part of Spain we weren’t familiar with while tasting some new wines. Definitely a great day had.
Below are three of the wines that were available with some notes by Ryan, enjoy!
- 2003 Osborne Viño de la Tierra de Castilla Solaz – Spain, Castilla-La Mancha, Viño de la Tierra de Castilla (2/9/2006)
Another Solaz Blend, Tempranillo and Syrah.
Nose shows liquorice, cherry, mineral, and light vanilla. Medium acidity, and tannin both which are in great balance. Flavors of Cherry, almost candy like with a light earthiness, raspberry, smoke, and faint minerals. Incredibly great value wine, which would make any Friday night more enjoyable.
Red wine from Tierra de Castilla. A perfect “assemblage” performed by our oenologists, where the intensity of the Shiraz grape is harmoniously blended with the mild and creamy Tempranillo grape. Once the fermentation process at a controlled temperature is completed, the wine remains in American oak barrels for at least four months and is then aged in the bottle for a further four months until it is ready for the market.
- 2004 Osborne Vinos de la Tierra de Cádiz Gadir – Spain, Andalucía, Vinos de la Tierra de Cádiz (2/9/2006)
Palomino Fino/Chardonnay blend
Light golden color. The nose shows peaches, apple, nuts and fresh kiwi. In the mouth there is a medium acidity and body to match. Flavors of green apple, pear, cream and light butterscotch. Really a surprising little wine.
Taken from the Osborne Wine Website Gadir is described as this:
White wine from the Tierra de Cadiz. Young wine. Made using varieties of Palomino and Chardonnay white grapes from the vineyards owned by Bodegas Osborne in El Puerto de Santa María. White vinification with a light maceration and controlled fermentation at a low temperature.
- 2003 Osborne Viño de la Tierra de Castilla Solaz – Spain, Castilla-La Mancha, Viño de la Tierra de Castilla (7/29/2005)
Tempranillo and Cabernet Sauvignon blend.
Red with purple hint and with medium concentration. Creamy cherry as a primary flavour with hints of minerals and light spice. There’s a touch of oaky vanilla on top of it all. Medium weight with crisp acidity, and light tannins. Really fresh and alive on the palate. Bright cherry, raspberry, with light pepper and a touch of slate. Awesome little value wine that will do great things with food.
Taken from the Osborne Wine Website Solaz Tempranillo/Cabernet blend is described as this:
Red wine from the Tierra de Castilla. Red wine, the result of the “assemblage” of Tempranillo and Cabernet Sauvignon grapes. Once the fermentation at a controlled temperature has finished, it remains for four months in new American oak barrels before being left to age in bottles.