Of the 100 wines that were highlighted at the Wines From Spain Awards, it was the whites that stood out for Michelin-starred chef Roger Jones who picks nine whites that showed real class, refinement and elegance. As it happens he did have time for a few reds as well….
Only one Chardonnay was to be found at the Wines From Spain Awards roadshow held at the Spanish Embassy, and that was a part of blended Cava. We pick out Albariño, Godello, Viura, Xarel-lo, Verdejo and Rioja Vega that all warrant serious attention.
Last night the Spanish Embassy was the impressive venue to showcase over 100 Spanish wines to highlight the diversity and depth of where Spain now stands on the wine map.
Spain has moved forwards very quickly on the food map, with a gluten of Michelin Stars and inspiring establishments such as El Bulli, El Celler de Can Roca, and Arzak to name a few bringing the world to notice Spain as a global icon to food.
Added to that you have the wonderful tapas culture that is inspirational, so it is quite obvious that wine would soon feature on our radar.
Whilst for the last few decades the New World has forged ahead with their modern style, Spain has quietly in recent years moved forwards from the classics – lest we forget the world class Riojas from the likes of Vińa Tondonia and Marqués de Murrieta – to develop an impressive collection of fashionable wines.
To me it was the white wines on show that highlighted how far Spain has come of age, starting with a fabulous grown up Cava.
Gran Claustro Brut Nature 2011, Perelada, Barwell & Jones
Interesting that the only Chardonnay on show at the tasting was as part of the multi-mix of grapes that went into this sparkling wine. Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Xarel-Lo, Parellada & Macabeo make up the blend for this luscious, textured wine with exotic spice, ginger biscuits and a light delicate spritz that makes this wine so delicious.
Principia Mathematica, Xarel-lo 2014, Alliance Wine
Rich and silky, ‘Williams’ pear, peaches, nectarines, layers and layers of luscious fruit, lovely citrus balance with a nutty undertone from the oak.
Frago do Corvo, 2015 Godello, Grandes Pagos Gallegos, H2Vin
I loved the purity and clean fresh flavours coming from this wine, it is beautifully balanced. The Godello grape comes from the North West of Spain, grown on slate.
Deusa Nai, Albariño 2015, Marqués de Caceres, Fine Wines Direct
Nutty and aged on the nose, but luscious on the palate, easy drinking, long lingering fresh ripe and enticing, wonderful sea shore finish
Albariño Sobbre Lias 2015, Casal Caeiro, Berkmann
Mellow golden yellow nose, the purity is superb, touch of butterscotch, lovely freshness touch of ‘Burgundy’. Class wine.
Albariño Selection 2011, Quinta de Couselo, H2 Vin
Precise, balanced, fresh citrus acidity, restrained elegance.
Naiades 2012, Verdejo, Boutinot
Not always the easiest grape to excite, but this is a stunner, great texture, wonderful balance, precise explosions of wonderful flavours, certainly lifts a gloomy winters day.
Tempranillo Blanco 2015, Rioja Vega, House of Townend
Fabulous purity to this wine, bright luscious stone fruit, fresh and vibrant, a classy wine that would be a great match to the Christmas turkey
Capellania, 2010, Viura, Marqués de Murrieta
Sheer class, the Capellania improves year on year and the 2010 is a marvel, world class wine that excels.
Although there were only 3 Rosé/Rosado wines on show all were very good with my favourite being the Protos Rosado 2015 made from Tempranillo grapes, bright and clean with a masculine grown up flavour.
However, with the reds I found a few oddities, some that were dull and had little to do with Spain and merely there to tick the box. Notably poor were two wines selected by Waitrose which fail to highlight the quality that Spain can produce.
But, rest assured, there were plenty that did perform well including the two red wines from Contino, a bodegas that I visited earlier this year and I was delighted to see that both these had high praise from all the judges.
Contino Reserva 2010, Tempranillo, Graciano, Mazuelo, Garnacha, Hatch Mansfield
This is classic, smooth and seductive with bright berries oozing from the glass, touch of perfume, clean fresh, lingers on the palate brings a smile to the grumpiest.
Vina del Olivo, Contino 2010, Temranillo, Graciano, Hatch Mansfield
This is not cheap with a retail price tag of £58 but the purity of this wine is awesome, juicy lamb blood dripping, sweet, delicate tiny berries, gently perfumed, my favourite wine of the night.
La Montesa Crianza 2013, Garnacha, Tempranillo, Bodegas Palacios Remondo, Fields Morris & Verdin
Luscious up front fruit, vibrant, full flavoured, vanilla and soft spice, juicy blueberries and sweet blackberries.
Coleccion Vivanco Parcelas de Graciano 2012, Graciano, Bodegas Vivanco, Bibendum
Deeply textured, layered, complex, quite Bordeaux in style, a serious wine with a big price (£55) but stunning, and will evolve and get greater with age
Mas La Plana, Cabernet Sauvignon 2011, Bodegas Torres, Fells
A wine that I collect, New World style, still needs time but this will evolve into a lovely balanced Cabernet that is classy and sits there as a special wine to collect.
Goren, Tempranillo 2011, Bodegas Benetakoa, Albion Wine Shippers
Fabulous nose, dark fruits and perfume, my notes said ‘gobsmacking’ this is luscious big modern, bright, precise and good value.
Vina Pedrosa Crianza, Tinto Fino (Tempranillo) 2014, Bodegas Pascuas, Bancroft Wines
Delicate wine, precise fruit, mulberries, blueberries, silky smooth and oozes down, well balanced to give a delicious, light, fresh wine that would be great with meaty fish such as salt cod or sea bass.
Alfa Spiga 2009, Tempranillo, Bodegas y Vinedos, Seckford Agencies
Full flavoured with a rumbling of gently cooked blackberry crumble, delicate exotic spices from the oak, silky smooth, wonderful balance.
There were only a handful of sherries on offer, a shame as both Jerez and Montilla produce some magnificent wines that need to be highlighted. I would also have liked to see some brandy, which again Spain does so well.
Overall though a wonderful showcase of what Spain is now producing and it certainly made me aware that I need to expand the listings that I have from Spain especially on the whites. Last night was all about class, refinement and elegance including the Embassy.