“Our wines are a blend of the traditional and contemporary and genuinely reflect the outstanding characteristics of their unique and distinct personality.”

I couldn’t have put it better myself!

I’ve said many times in Cork Talks of the last few years that Spain is such a happening place when it comes to winemaking. There is so much going on the Spanish wine scene that it has to be one of the most dynamic winemaking countries in the world – and I’m so grateful that we are right in the middle of it!

The ‘traditional’ part of the quote above refers to the history of winemaking here in Spain. Often this comes as second nature to young winemakers who are now taking over the reins of the family wine business. Parents are happy to bow out (well, mostly, though so many retain the right to still come to work each day, helping by just being there!). The new incumbents, a welcome increasing number of females included, of course, have learned from the parents as they did form theirs and so on, back through generations.

Add to this the fact that this new generation has had the opportunity to study formally at various universities and wine schools, adding great swathes of knowledge to family traditions, and you can see that things are bound to improve. Then bring in the fact that so many have had the wherewithal to travel and therefore learn from others in the industry. Often this has included working vintages in different European wineries, as well as in different countries in, not only the northern hemisphere, the USA for example, but also in the likes of South Africa, South America New Zealand and Australia.

Now, I’m not sure where the folk behind Winery On Bodegas have done their learning and experience gaining, but it’s clear from the quote above (lifted from their website that they are making wines in a modern style, using traditional know-how as a solid foundation. As I said in my recent radio programme (you can check it out here, Demuerte being the final wine tasted on the show, Classic, the wine I enjoyed so much, is very much a DO Yecla wine, with a modern spin.

Demuerte Classic is one of a small portfolio of, I think, six different wines, all featuring variations on the same label theme. It’s a label that immediately captures the attention of the consumer, designed as it is with the shape of a skull! It certainly tempts you to buy it and, importantly of course, the contents behind the label will make you buy it again too!

It’s made with Monastrell, the staple variety of DO Yecla, and one that I very quickly came to love when I first moved here to South-East Spain so many years ago. However, it’s a blend – Syrah being the bedfellow that is popular in Yecla and perhaps even more so in nearby DO Bullas. There seems to be a certain symbiotic relationship between the two varieties. They fit!

Firstly, you’ll find wonderful plum/damson fruit on the nose as well as the palate. Not very prevalent, but present nevertheless, there’s a faint dark chocolate flavour on the finish. Well, that’s all very Monastrell. The syrah makes its mark by adding some cherry notes to the flavour, with a delightful, though faint, black pepper spiciness and just a whiff of black olive.

It’s not a big blockbuster of a Monastrell with brooding dark fruit and lots of oak – it doesn’t want to be. It has had some ageing in barrel, French for about 9 months as it happens, but it has also elegance. The oak is integrated, hardly noticeable, adding a little flavour and aroma, as well as depth. It has 14.5 abv, but it’s subtle and entirely in keeping with the concept.

I couldn’t wait to try it when it arrived, so opened it that evening. It offered more the next day having fleshed out a little – suggesting once again that wines are better for resting after a journey. I think a little breathing before tasting will also help you to enjoy the full benefits of this wine.

I’ve only tasted Classic, which has made me want to try more. I think readers will feel the same! Twitter @colinonwine Facebook Colin Harkness  Instagram colinharkness53

NB My Wine Show is available the first Saturday of each month – next programme Saturday 5th September from 12:00 hrs – 12:00 hrs (CET). Listen live here

Top Ten Spanish Wines




So straight to it:


Doix_line_productNo. 1for the fist time ever, a wine that has hit the top spot for two consecutive years! Doix Costers de Vinyes Vellas, Bodegas Mas Doix, DOCa Priorat, though this time it’s the 2009 vintage. The grapes for this classy wine, a measly half kilo per vine(!), come from vineyards whose Cariñena and Garnacha vines are between 80 and 105 years of age. Concentrated dark berry flavours are to the fore on first sniff and hit, and in the mouth the wine expands in terms of it rich flavours. There are spicy notes with some bay leaf too, a hint of smoke, some graphite, some distant old leather, a slight cinnamon note and all bound together with ripe fruit and bold, but unobtrusive tannin – to ensure longevity.


No. 2 Clio, Bodegas El Nido, DO Jumilla. Clio is made with 79% Monastrell and 30% Cabernet Sauvignon. Old vines are used, the Monastrell are really old, perhaps 100yrs, and the Cabernet are north facing. The vineyards stoically endure very cold winters and furnace like heat in the summer. You might get coffee, blackberry/current jam, liquorice, cassis, leather, and an overwhelming sense of opulence, a very rich mouthfeel, filling the mouth with flavour the moment you take a sip.


No. 3 Pezas da Portela, Bodegas Valdesil, DO Valdeorras. Made from grapes grown in eleven different vineyards surrounding the village of Portela this white wine is fruit driven but with an elegance that speaks of really fine wine. There is a most desirable mineral nose coming from the slate-strewn soils in which the vines grow – you’ll find apple flavours, some peachy notes, paraguyo and a refreshing understated citrus element too.


No. 4. Les Ceveres, Bodegas Oriol Rosello, DO Penedés. This stunning white wine which has had six months in French oak has a delightful coconut cream nose from its lees and from the barricas in which is has lain. Slight hazelnut and blanched almond aromas are joined by baked apples and just a suggestion of white peach on the finish.


No. 5 Gran Reserva Brut Nature Cava, Bodegas Oriol Rosello, DO Cava. Its pale gold colour tells of its age and perhaps suggests that there may be Chardonnay in the blend – but no, this is traditional in that it uses only indigenous Cava varieties, in this case Xarel.lo and Parellada. Full flavoured but graceful and elegant with complexity. Its aromas gradually develop, just as the genie from the lamp slowly and gracefully manifests itself; and its glorious length kept us all hushed for several moments after swallowing!


No. 6 Albet i Noya Gran Reserva 2009 Brut Nature. The aroma of his Gran Reserva is as rich as can be and promises some wonderful flavours in the mouth. The traditional three grape varieties are supported by a sizeable proportion of Chardonnay and the patisserie notes, normally associated with Champagne, are here in abundance too. There’s a touch of green apple, largely from the Macabeo, and the fermented apple nose and taste of some classic Asturias dry cider. Admirable length and graceful elegance allied with richness!

No. 7 Lavia, Bodegas Molino y Lagares de Bullas, DO Bullas. Made with Monastrell and Syrah the wine is fermented in foudres made of French oak and stainless steel after which they are placed, by gravity only, into French oak barrels. Mountain herbs, black pepper, ripe black cherries and damson with earthy vanilla notes and a slight bitter chocolate finish.



No. 8 Feitizo da Noite Brut, Bodegas Pablo Padin, DO Rías Baixas Vino Espumo, The wine has the typical bready patisserie nose on first opening but this aroma is soon joined by typical Albariño white peach fruit and white flower fragrance. It has a lingering finish and its 8 grams of residual sugar classify it as a dry, Brut, sparkler, also making it an ideal partner to any cuisine that might include a touch of sweetness, Chinese and Indonesian for example, as it has the necessary acidity to cut through the sweetness but also the flavours to complement.


No. 9 Sueño Megala 2007, Bodegas Enguera, DO Valencia. At 14·5% this is a powerful, and yet elegant wine. Made mostly from a blend of Monastrell, Tempranillo and Syrah it has clearly enjoyed its 22 months in French oak. There are earthy aromas and bay and rosemary herbal notes on the nose with Enguera’s usual high level of delicious dark and light red fruit on the palate too. It’s a multilayered wine with complexity, a lengthy finish and a certain sensuality as well.


No. 10 Diez Siglos 2011 Fermentado en Barrica, Bodegas Diez Siglos de Verdejo, DO Rueda. The oldest vineyards comprised of stone strewn earth with few nutrients provide the wine with a pleasing, almost flinty mineral note. It has nine months in French oak and it’s this, added to typical herby green pepper vegetal notes along with gooseberry and kiwi, that provides the fresh, ripe grapefruit on the finish.

First Published n Costa News Group SL




It’s halfway through March as I write about what will, I’m sure, happen in a few weeks time. If only I was able to predict lottery numbers with the same certainty that I now forecast that Bodegas Aroa will come away with prizes and medals from the forthcoming Organic Wine Fair in nearby Pamplona!

 In truth it’s not too difficult to make such a confident prophecy, having tasted the wines of this thoroughly modern looking winery whose roots are firmly entrenched in historic, traditional soil-friendly methods. And this is definitely not because of a paucity of quality organic wines in Spain!

 My trusty laptop has recorded several Cork Talk articles I’ve written about the rise and rise of ecological wine over the years. This pleasing progress continues unabated and Bodegas Aroa is clearly in the vanguard of developments in this field, literally!

 The following wines are good wines, not just good organic wines. They are designed to reflect that which is contained in the grapes used and in the soils in which the plants’ roots search for nourishment. Furthermore their viticulture is intended to benefit the soil and indeed the whole local eco-system, of which the land is of course an integral part.

 We are talking here of the philosophy of sustainable viticulture. This is by no means a new innovative theory. It’s an understanding taught from generation to generation by those who have worked the land for hundreds of years, but which has sadly, tragically even, been pushed into the background during the greed-inspired 20th Century.

 Mutiko is their youngest red wine. Made from 70% Tempranillo and 30% Merlot, it has a surprising rich, roundness considering its youth. There are dark damson fruits on the nose and palate, plus a faint whiff of mountain herbs and subtle mineral notes, with a touch of damp earth too. A very good relatively full, joven wine.

 Jauna 2006 has Cabernet as the majority shareholder with Tempranillo and Merlot also on the Board. It’s inky-black with mature tannin, black cherry, blackcurrant and the bodega’s characteristic autumn leaves, minty mineral notes with abundant rich fruit. There’s a dark chocolate finish and a good length. This wine has three to five years to shed its still youthful, fruit-inspired vibrancy and mature in depth and flavour.

 Larossa is their very pretty rosado wine which comes in elegant 50cl bottles. It’s unusual to note minerality on a rosado wine but that’s the first whiff, before rich, almost syrupy raspberry and strawberry, take its place.

 This sweeter sensation is carried onto the palate where the 1·9 grams of residual sugar and high alcohol level make for a wine that is going to delight those with a sweeter tooth!

 Gorena 2004, 70% Cabernet 30% Tempranillo, has a hunger-inspiring smoked-bacon nose as the cork is pulled with blackcurrant cassis coming through strongly along with typical earthy mineral notes. There is a slight medicinal flavour with integrated oak and a touch of tannin making it a wine that is best enjoyed with food.

 Deierri 2006 is vermillion coloured with a full fruity nose with mineral and meaty notes, following its 4-6 months in American oak. It has a good mouthfeel with mature tannin, some fresh acidity and a good finish.

 I feel some awards coming on!