An unrelated couple, for summer!


I wouldn’t say I was inundated, but it is true that I receive a large number of solicited and unsolicited wines during the year. I’m not complaining of course – it gives me the opportunity to further promote the wines of my adoptive country. And, yes, I admit it, I’m quite partial to a drop of fine Spanish wine myself!

Usually, the wines I receive all come from the same bodega. I have been asked occasionally over the years why it is that practically all of my articles are positive about the wines therein. I can understand the worry – am I being compromised by feeling that I have to write ‘nicely’ about wines that I have received gratis? And, if this is the case, am I therefore not giving readers wholly truthful advice?

Well, don’t worry, please, the comments I make in my reviews and wine notes are honest and truthful. The fact that those which you read are almost all positive is because, if there are wines that I receive that are poor examples (I tasted one recently for example that was undrinkable) I simply leave them out of the article – often advising the producer exactly why.

This week, rather that writing about a certain bodega’s full portfolio of wines, Cork Talk is going to feature just two wines, each from different areas of production, albeit that the Denominaciónes de Origen are adjacent to each – which is about the only connection between them!

I’m starting with a sparkling wine, as I’m wont to do at the tastings I present as well as prior to dinner, either here at home or in a restaurant. Is there a better way to start an evening (and a wine article?!).

The sparkler to which I refer is a rosado made with one of the black grape varieties approved for making Cava, but it’s not Cava. This Monastrell Sparkling Wine is made in DO Jumilla – and it’s a delight!

I love fine Cava, but as the title of one of my articles, of several years ago, stated, all that sparkles in Spain is not necessarily Cava; and yet it is often of the same quality, and occasionally better! This certainly goes for Bodegas Alceño’s Brut Nature rosé Monastrell – which I loved! (

The bottle with its sparkly pink foil and it’s pretty pink flowers does not flatter to deceive – the wine, when poured is also a pretty pink in the glass, and, more importantly it has aroma, flavour and presence too! There are darker pink rose petals on the nose with strawberry as well as raspberry and faint rhubarb notes as well. On the palate there is elegance as well a mouthfeel and it has a medium length too.

A lovely aperitif, of course, but also pair this wine with rice dishes and Oriental/Asian cuisine, where its Brut Nature style retains the acidity to cut through any over sweetness in the food, and its structure balances the food/wine combination, practically perfectly.

I wrote fairly recently about a Jumilla wine made by Bodegas Rodríguez de Vera (, which actually majors in DO Almansa where its winery is actually situated. I said at the time that I’d be interested in tasting one of their DO Almansa wines, as it would be more from their natural home – having been impressed with their Jumilla effort.

I love the Flamingo decked label on their Chardonnay Fermentado en Barrica – a wine that will, I think, convince even the most ardent ABC Club card holder (Anything But Chardonnay) that it is now safe to come out of hiding! Yes, it’s been fermented in oak, aged too, but only for a month. It therefore has a little oak influence, but in no way does this mask the fruit.


The single vineyard wine, whose grapes were harvested by hand, has also been aged for three months on its lees, with weekly stirring, away from the oak, and this adds a creamy dimension to the finished wine which complements, and in turn is complemented by, the oak barrels. Crucial is the acidity, which is tight and lean despite the fullness of the wine.

You’ll find some white stoned fruit on the palate, white peaches particularly, but also fresh, slightly under ripe yellow peaches, with a brief reference to banana skin and a little pineapple acidity. It’s all wrapped up nicely in a quilt of creaminess with a dash of vanilla!

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