First Published Costa Nwes Group April 2012




It’s not surprising that an organisation that boasts over 1,500 members can fill a venue within a week of advertising an event! So it was, with the Moraira/Teulada U3A for a recent Wine Presentation held at Cafe Del Mar, on the coast road to Calpe.

The idea was the brainchild of Groups Co-ordinator, Shirley Baehr, whose project of a series of work-shops for members is clearly proving rather popular, if this, the first of several, is anything to go by! The aim was to entertain and inform members about some of the different styles of wine that are to be found in Spain.

Sometimes it can be confusing when confronted with a bottle of wine in a shop or restaurant – what does it all mean? Our objective was to give members some extra information, enabling them to make more informed choices when next buying their wines, with some tasty fun along the way!

What better way to do this than by tasting examples of four different styles of wine, with choices made from the huge portfolio of wines offered by wines from Bodegas Vicente Gandía, along with some tapas? For added value, considering the fact that this pro-active bodega now has outposts in several different wine producing areas of Spain, we also had the opportunity to introduce members to some Denominaciónes de Origen, whose wines  they perhaps hadn’t sampled before.

Members were fascinated to learn of the Nocturnal Harvesting now undertaken in DO Rueda, from whence comes some of the best white wine of Spain. In an effort to obtain the best out of the indigenous grape variety, Verdejo, which has a tendency to oxidise too easily, grape bunches are harvested by pickers using miner’s lamps on their heads at night time, to avoid the high temperatures brought by sunshine.

Nebla is such a wine – resulting from Bodegas Vicente Gandía’s first foray into this wine producing area hundreds of kilometres North East of their home in the hills of DOs Valencia and Utiel-Requena. Super Sauvignon-esque aromas of gooseberry, kiwi and herbs with a touch of fennel are joined by further vegetal notes on the nose and palate. This wine was the chosen representative of the Joven, or Young, style of wine – the first of the four styles discussed during the evening.

Next, in the red corner, members learned of a relatively new style of wine, a type perhaps most easily understood by the term ‘Semi-Crianza’, though often called ‘Roble’ instead, and even sometimes not called anything particular at all. Sound a bit confusing? Well yes, but listen up!

I think probably most wine lovers will know that the term Crianza (in fact the third style of wine described on the night) means that the wine has to have a had a prescribed minimum amount of time in Oak and then in Bottle, before it can be released onto the market. This minimum of 6 months in oak and 12 months in bottle is in fact laid down by law.

However I’m delighted to say that many winemakers like to include the influence of oak, but not as much as 6 months’ worth. Hence the term Semi-Crianza which tells the buyer that the wine has had some oak ageing but not as much as a Crianza, wine. Sometimes such a wine is called a ‘Roble’, wine, which is of course the Spanish word for Oak. Often Roble wines will also say on the label just how many months the wine has had resting in oak before bottling.

And sometimes neither Roble nor Semi-Crianza will be written on the label but reference will be made to oak ageing, like Dolmo, Bodegas Vicente Gandía’s Ribera del Duero Wine, which has had 4 months in oak. I love this wine – made with Tempranillo, it’s darkly coloured, rich and quite deep, ideal to drink with or without food.

The third wine style, a Crianza wine, comes from La Rioja and is named Raiza taken from the Spanish word for roots, letting consumers know that here is a wine rooted in the traditional wine-making techniques of the hallowed lands of Spain’s most famous wine crafting area. A Rioja Crianza in fact exceeds the minimum number of months in oak, doubling it to a whole year. Raiza has the aromas and flavours that speak of place – classic Rioja red wine whose dark red fruits integrate with the vanilla of the oak in which they’ve been aged.

The final style, is the same as the above, but more so – Reserva, and Vicente Gandía’s Hoya De Cadenas Reserva, which has had 14 months in American oak, is from their home vineyards in DO Utiel-Requena. Tempranillo is aided and abetted by Cabernet Sauvignon, and marginally proved to be the favourite of the evening.

PS Please note reservations are now being taken for the wine/ethnic food pairings evenings in Moraira: Ethnic Cuisine Courts Spanish Wines – A Marriage Made In Moraira. Thursday 3rd May we are at Moroccan Restaurant, Marhaba, just 18€; 16th May Restaurante Bajul, Indonesian Cuisine, 17·50€; and Nepalese/Indian Restaurant Himalaya, 29th May,18€. Each of the 4 or 5 dishes will be paired with a different wine to complement the Ethnic specialities – I can’t wait! Please e-mail or call me on 629 388 159 to reserve your places and for more information.