As promised, I'm going to do a little write-up on the wines we had at our Spanish Varietals tasting party last week, and provide some brief descriptors on each. ALL of these wines are relatively inexpensive, and ALL were outstanding. Honestly. Usually when we have these parties there is at least one wine where I will seriously say "hmm...not my favorite," (being kind) but this time each wine was a hit for both me and Big Ag.
Spain is a country known for its wide variety of climate and therefore the quality of their wines varies widely from region to region. In general, the central tablelands and southeast areas of Spain are known for making the best wine, although due to the hilly terrain, great microclimates for growing can be found throughout the country.
The first wine we sampled was a Cava, or Spanish Sparkling White Wine. Unfortunately, I did not see the bottle, but I was impressed with Cava if what we had was typical. Not overly sweet OR dry, it was balanced, bubbly and exactly what you want out of a sparkling wine.
Our first red wine was Garnacha, made by Tapena, 2010. Although this is a grenache (despite the spelling being slightly different), it was actually a heavier wine and therefore should probably have been served further down on the list with the bigger reds, but no matter. Garnet colored, smooth, with strong notes of blackberries, it is a full-bodied wine with a lovely finish.
The second wine was the one we brought, Encanto (Charm) Seleccion 2008. (It was a steal at $20!) This wine was made from 100% Mencia varietal grapes. A clear, ruby coloring, medium bodied wine which would pair well with almost anything you'd normally have a Pinot, Zin, or Grenache with, it had an awesome bouquet of fruit blossoms, and lots of black cherry notes on the palate. We will be buying this again.
Third up was the Bodegas Vaca Rojo, 2009. It had a more orange tint to it, a lot of soft lemon in the bouquet, and some nice lemon and orange notes on the palate. Of all the wines, this was probably my favorite, and I'm thrilled that it is made right here in Paso Robles and on sale at the winery's tasting room downtown. I can't wait to go in and try their other Spanish varietals as well. And gorgeous label artwork, don't you think?
The last was Romanico, Bodega Teso la Monja. Made from Tinto del Toro grapes, this had a strong bouquet of cloves, tobacco and french bread. Lots of oak and smoky notes on the palate, with a lovely, strong finish. This would be great with pasta, paella or just a great loaf of bread and some cheese. It's a big red wine.
I should note that at least 4 out of 5 of these are available at BevMo, even though I'm loathe to recommend them because I think it's better to buy direct (but know that's not always possible). And the Bodegas Vaca Rojo is probably available on Bodegas' website, so you could buy it there since it's from a small boutique winery and probably not in BevMo's huge system.
Either way, Cheers, or as they say in Spain, Te Brindo!