Spring is here in Spain and the patios are starting to open up along the avenues of Madrid. Madrilenos (Spainards from Madrid) favorite pastime is walking, talking and drinking on the sidewalk while seated side by side. It’s around this time that parents and grandparents are found relaxing during the afternoons, gabbing about everything and nothing along the streetside cafes. Inevitably, it will also include a glass of wine or two or three, depending on whether the subject is political or if it wanders to whose family has the “best” toritlla recipe in Spain. As for me, it’s a chance to get some fresh air before the sweltering summer heat arrives forbidding me to even sip a glass before I melt. Spring in Madrid, and I would assume most everywhere in the world, is a time to rejoice in the rebirth of the earth, new plant life blossoming and birds singing. This season also includes a return to two wines that I tend to sideline during the winter months: sherry and rosés, not because I fail to enjoy them during the winter months, but because I tend to forget about them as I pour over the wine list at the restaurant. However, I once again celebrated its existence by enjoying a bottle of sherry at a local Brazilian restaurant last week and I intend to seek out a nice rosé this coming week.
Dry, off-dry and sweet are the main ways you’ll encounter rosés, and today, I want to highlight one particular Bogegas rosé that I haven’t tasted the likes of before. During my past trip to Barcelona, I was presented with my first ever barrel fermented rosé! That’s right, a rosé fermented and then aged in a barrel! Before all the anti-oak rants start, keep this in mind: when done right, oak doesn’t have to be a primary flavor, but rather a component of the whole. That was the case this time.
Bodegas Tobia, located in La Rioja, is a winery that adheres to a different approach. Rioja today is dominated by historic bodegas like Roda, Muga and Marques de Riscal – all with history and pedigree on their side. Tradition is what makes these wineries what they are, and to enter into this elite echelon of wine makers, you need to wait, build and produce wines of high quality over a length of time if you ever hope to arrive at their level. That’s why Tobia has chosen the road less traveled. Their idea is to try new ideas and techniques, while employing local varietals, to see if they can stand out from the rest. Sadly, I was busy and only had time to try two of their whites and their rosé, for which I note at the end of this article, but I intend to visit them once again in the future. I’m all for tradition, but it’s nonetheless fun to see a new voice try to find its place in a old region.
- 2004 Tobia Alma de Tobia – Spain, La Rioja, San Asensio (4/6/2006)
Fermented in barrel
The nose is a creamy raspberry with light spices that draws me in for more. The color overall is a bit darker for a rosé but clean and clear. In the mouth it is creamy with with a nice body that supports the pure fruit. I expected more wood, but in the end it helps calm down the intense fruit and give it a soft rich character. Pure raspberries and spice, while the finish is completely dry.