THE COSTA NEWS TOP TEN 2017!
THE TEN BEST SPANISH WINES TASTED THIS YEAR
Yes, I know – I’ve said it before and will more than likely say it again next year too, but the fact is that choosing just ten Spanish wines out of the hundreds I’ve tasted for Cork Talk this year is a very difficult job!
However, here goes, traditionally in reverse order:
Finca Antigua Moscatel Naturalmente Dulce, DO La Mancha:
I believe this is the first DO La Mancha wine that has figured in the Costa News Top Ten. There’s a touch of lemon zest freshness, which develops into orange blossom fragrance, with orange peel aromas and flavours plus some bitter orange, almost marmalade, flavour and aroma too, with a candied dried fruit finish to remind you that this is a pudding wine!
Haragán, Pago Los Balcines, DO Ribera del Guadiana:
(another first!) 50% Garnacha Tintorera/50% Tinta Roriz (aka Tempranillo). Wild dark berry fruits from old vines harvested at night by hand. Juicy, mature, elegant, but with the grip of power too. After 15 months in French oak there’s some black pepper mixed in with the brambly fruit and some undergrowth, some mushroom compost, but always the fruit to the fore.
Tío Pepe Fino en Rama, DO Jerez:
This is Fino without all the clarification and filtration to which regular sherries are subjected. En Rama is bottled almost without filtration at all. Hence En Rama Sherry is in its most natural state, and with a wholly different, soft golden colour! Yeasty, almost patisserie notes, along with a slight whiff of sea breeze, and then some blanched almond aromas and flavour.
Otoman, Bodegas Sierra Cantabria, DOCa. Rioja:
White Rioja, made with 49% Sauvignon Blanc and 51% the traditional white Rioja varieties Viura and Malvasia. Glossy on the palate, rich and full, for a white wine, but retaining that crucial acidity which makes whites so fresh. There are herbs on the nose with a hedgerow quality and on the palate there are nutty elements combining rather well with some refreshing citrus flavours.
Santa Rosa, Bodegas Enrique Mendoza, DO Alicante:
Cabernet (70%) Merlot and Shiraz. The Cabernet has obviously been picked at the optimum time – the grapes were fully ripened but retained their crucial acidity. Lots of blackcurrant aroma and flavour. There’s a touch of plum/damson in there with some stony minerality, a little smoky oak and some rich dark cherry with a touch of spice – great length and an admirable complexity.
Verum Malvasía, Bodegas y Viñedos Verum, VdlT de Castilla:
Floral fragrance – white rose petals and a touch of magnolia with tantalising wisps of honeysuckle. On the palate, the zest from citrus peel – that’s lemon, lime and grapefruit, plus, curiously, though positively, a slight touch of white pepper. A slight minerality comes through and there’s a good mouth-feel with an understated creamy element from its time spent on its lees.
Sabaté i Coca Reserva Familiar, Bodegas Castellroig, Cava de Paraje Calificada, DO Cava:
Xarel.lo vines with part of the base wine fermented in oak. Fennel and mountain herbs (thyme and laurel) and slight toasty notes with blanched almonds, a little hazelnut nuance and some distant pear and apple fruit. It’s rich and full, yet personifies elegance with a long and joyous finish.
Juan Piernas, Bodegas Jorge Piernas, ‘Red Wine from Spain’:
A wine labelled solely as ‘Red Wine from Spain’, can’t be this excellent – can it? 100% Monastrell from 800 metres above sea level in the Bullas area were fermented in steel then placed in French oak barrels. It celebrates the perfect harmony of elegance and power. Lots of dark plums, some juicy blackberry and picota cherry in there too. An element of spice and a little earthiness.
Verum Tempranillo V Reserva Familiar, Bodegas y Viñedos Verum, VdlT de Castilla:
There’s a little liquorice on the nose, with big, mostly dark, forest fruit, joining the party on the palate too. You’ll detect a little French oak, bringing with it complexity and a pleasing roundness to the wine. Pair it with your turkey – the dark meat particularly. Lovely wine, following their white above!
ONE, THE BEST SPANISH WINE TASTED FOR CORK TALK 2017:
GRAN RESERVA MASIA S.XV BRUT NATURE 2008, Cavas Rovellats, DO Cava.
So, a Cava that heads the list this year – and what a Cava! It’s elegant, first and foremost, with brioche and patisserie notes as well as a hint of toasty smokiness, and, after a huge seven years ‘en rima’ it is still as vibrant as a puppy – large breed, because this is also a powerful wine. Drink this with canapés, with fish, seafood and white meats – and you’ll be enthralled!