The Buyer
How Hispano+Suizas are taking a new slant on Spanish classics

How Hispano+Suizas are taking a new slant on Spanish classics

Albariño made on the Mediterranean coast and fizz made in the Cava region but with Champagne varietals – Hispano+Suizas are certainly not playing by the rule book in the Valencian wine region of DOP Utiel-Requena. But are the wines any good? Victor Smart met up with them to taste through these ‘Spanish wines with a difference’ and pair them with Barrafina tapas.

Victor Smart
9th May 2024by Victor Smart
posted in Tasting: Wine ,

Desirable grape varieties have always spread from one country to another, as a glance at a wine atlas will show. Even so, sometimes where a varietal is being cultivated looks slightly incongruous.

Take the Albariño now being cultivated by the Spanish producer Bodegas Hispano+Suizas. This is grown not in the northwestern region of Rías Baixas, where you would expect, but in the southeast of the country, not far from Valencia. The same goes for the producer’s traditional method brut nature sparkling. This is Cava by appellation but made like a Champagne in terms of constituent grapes with 66% Chardonnay and 34% Pinot Noir. Whether or not this matters is a bit of a personal judgement. But it is certainly a talking point at our London tasting of the producers’ range of wines.


Hispano+Suizas tasting, Barrafinna, London, April 2024

We are at Barrafina at Coal Drops Yard, one of five of the London restaurants in the chain serving modern tapas. The folk from Hispano+Suizas, winemaker Pablo Ossorio and export manager Vilma Noraite, have just arrived from Valencia and brought some overdue sunshine to the streets of London.

Hispano+Suizas are based in the D.O.P. Utiel-Requena. If you are not familiar with this producer that’s no great surprise as it only began exports at the beginning of this year, having focused to date on the domestic market. It sees that the estate is road testing a strategy of producing well-made wines that will taste familiar to customers of slightly up-market products. No surprise, then, that Noraite has the British on-trade squarely in her sights.

Named after an iconic supercar from the ‘twenties, the firm was created by two Spanish and a Swiss. They are classical music lovers, something reflected in the wines’ names.

We start with Tantum Ergo Brut Nature 2021 (€27). This comes from chalky soils at 700 m with Mediterranean climate influences. It has spent 23 months ageing in the bottle. Although Hispano+Suizas had to fight to get permission from the appellation for the unorthodox use of varietals with the Albariño – surprisingly the Champagne blend is allowed in Cava DO. That didn't stop some dissenting murmurs around the table ... why not use distinctive local grapes to make Cava rather than those borrowed from the Champagne region?

A valid question. But on quality, the wine does pass muster very well. It could certainly give champagnes at this price point a run for their money and, arguably, makes English sparklers look pricey.

Then on to the firm’s rosé fizz, again with zero dosage. The Tantum Ergo Rosé Brut Nature 2021 (€27) is 100% Pinot Noir and it too has spent 23 months on the lees. This rosé is Hispano + Suizas’s best seller with a lovely mouthfeel, nice cherry and pastry notes and decently balanced acidity. Paired with melt-in-the-mouth Pintxo pork belly, the acidity cuts through the fattiness to wondrous effect. In both sparklers, the bubbles are fine and persistent.

Next on to the Albariño Finca Case Julia 2020, billed as the first Mediterranean Albariño in Spain (€30). A fashionable grape, Albariño is being planted as far afield as California and Uruguay so there is no surprise it has made its way across the Iberian peninsula. Again Hispano + Suizas had to fight to get permission to plant the varietal in the region. This version has an excellent richness and depth, a nice acidity and fruity freshness - rather lovely in fact though up against some competition from Galicia at this price point.

We move on to the reds with the Bobos Finca Casa La Borracha 2021 (€27). The is pure Bobal, the third most planted Spanish variety, with the grapes harvested from 80-year-old vines. Full-bodied, with pleasing tannins and well-integrated fruit this has been much-awarded.

We wrap up with the Quod Superius 2018 (€48). This is predominately Syrah and Bobal along with a touch of Cabernet Franc and Merlot. It’s fresh on the palate with notes of black fruit and coffee. And, as Noraite is at pains to point out, it is low on astringency and has no overly challenging tannins.

This shows the trajectory that Hispano+Suizas is carving out: producing reliable, approachable wines at a comparatively affordable price to buyers wanting something both good and recognisable.


Hispano+Suizas winemaker Pablo Ossorio and export manager Vilma Noraite