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Spanish Wine Tasting, Part 2: A Welcoming, Friendly Affair in Valencia

tasting-crowdRecently, I told you about the first Spanish wine tasting that I attended here in Valencia.  It was a great chance to try out my Spanish wine vocabulary and sink my teeth into the mildly daunting experience of the learning curve of tasting terminology in my second language.  I count that event as a tremendously enjoyable success.

And once you get a taste, can you stop?  I can’t.

The second tasting

This one was held at a local wine store come wine distributor here in Valencia, called Las Añadas de España, also selling fine cheeses and cured meats. Katie and I had been tipped off about the tasting by a friend and decided to leave Oscar (nearly three) at school all day instead of his usual mornings so that we could take it all in. We needn’t have bothered as it was an open event where representatives from various wineries poured and answered the questions of the roaming guests. As we arrived sharply at 10:30 AM, mistakenly thinking that the day was to be a structured one, we were promptly greeted by one of the store’s managers who welcomed us, filled us in on the day’s offering and showed us around the store. Nothing could have been less daunting.

There were 30 wines available to sample; we managed to taste 20. We had every intention of heading back to try the remaining 10 but the day just didn’t turn out that way. In short, we tried too many wines for me to give details here, but there was one that deserves mention, even though it wasn’t really to my taste.

3-bottles-from-bierzoThe bodega Descendientes de J. Palacios, from DO Bierzo, was offering a wine called ‘Pétalos del Bierzo‘(find this wine). This 2007 vintage, made exclusively from Mencía, really lived up to its name. The bouquet was heavily flowered. It was a lighter bodied red that was pleasant enough but, as I say, not to my taste. However, I was struck again by the versatility of wine in general and amazed to think that so many specific aromas and flavours can be contained in a bottle of wine. No wonder I love this beverage so much.

Ryan was taking note of the Bierzo region and the Mencía grape a while ago, as was the New York Times – you can read more here.

As Katie and I ambled about the room we were given ample room to approach the tables and greeted by bodega representatives who were ready to talk in detail about the wines they were pouring.  This was an event primarily aimed at local restauranteurs but, despite the fact that we obviously did not belong to this category, no one hesitated to answer our questions at length and in-depth.  That included Alicante wine legend Enrique Mendoza whose charisma ever wavered as he described his wines passionately time and time again to the constant stream of tasters.

Although I was able to converse with the bodegas’ representatives a fair amount, I’m sure that I would have enjoyed the experience almost as much even if my Spanish weren’t up to the task. This was one of the most open and welcoming wine events I’ve ever attended, complimented by a few slices of jamón and the best queso fresco I´ve ever had, supplied by Granja Rinya.

I can´t wait for the next one.

Cheers!

Ivan Larcombe

(photos courtesy of Las Añadas de España)

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  • cryo87

    So reminds me of the Bottlenotes wine tasting event i had been to 2 weeks back!!

  • wiljak

    Pétalos is one of those wines that always makes it in to “good value” lists and generally gets good scores – but it's never been my cup of meat. In the spirit of open mindedness, however, I get a bottle every year just to see what's going on. The 2007 (what's on most shelves now) is the 4th vintage I've tried and I'm now changing my tune – if you let this thing get enough air (I'm talkin' a day, day and a half) it turns into a really nice syrah/northern rhone kinda thing. For 11€ that's not a bad thing.