Bay Radio’s Sunday Brunch Wine Recommendation!

Chilli Sausage and Sweet Potato

Bay Radio Presenters, Noelle and Bob, enjoy a glass of wine with Noelle's recipe!

There are a number of wines, grape varieties and wine styles that could match this dish I think. Navarra reds might be an answer but I sometimes find them a touch tannic – this would clash with the chilli making the dish doubly hot.

So I’ll consider the match by grape variety rather than area. I think a Syrah based wine or one made with Garnacha will do the trick. Perhaps at crianza level, but preferably a semi-crianza or even a joven (young wine) provided it is rich enough.
There are many areas in Spain where Garnacha is the preferred variety, DO Priorat would be super, though expensive. Syrah is becoming increasingly prevalent too, so there should be plenty of choice.

Superb Wine Tasting with Indonesian Cuisine!

La Casa del Vino, Javea provides the wines for the new Indonesian Restaurant, Tapindo, between Javea Port and the Old Town and it was my job in June to present a selection of the wines to match a tantalising array of Indonesian Tapas. It was quite a challenge – but I think we all agreed it was one of the bests tastings ever!

Partners Glen and Martin have had the successful take-away Tapindo on Javea’s Cabo la Nao road for some time now but there has been an increasing demand for a restaurant with the same cuisine where people can enjoy the authentic feel of such an eatery. Restaurante Tapindo opens on 1st July – and judging by the response from the tasting they’ll be busy!

The wines were something special too, as you would expect coming from La Casa Del Vino whose owners have a bloodhoud detective’s nose for sniffing out top wines at good prices – two were new to me and I’ll be having some more, for sure!

The first, a wonderfully aromatic white wine made from Gewurztraminer from Somontano. It should be law that this wine is on all Indonesian restaurant’s wine list – it’s super and goes so well with the cuisine.

A rosado made from Merlot from Bodega Urbezo, DO Cariñena, has a touch of residual sugar making it an off dry rosado – super with the bold spices in the next tapa.

Reds have to be fruity and low in tannin to accompany this cuisine and both the Muñana 2006 Cabernet Sauvignon and the Ribes Negre 2008 were just the job, the latter, the slightely more tannic of the two, being served with a wonderful beef dish cooked in coconut milk. The Cabernet is drinking perfectly with not a trace of harshness – a testimony to the climate in the mountains above Granada from whence it came!

Finally – and who thinks of Indonesian desserts, normally(?) – a lovely Brut Bohigas Cava with a layered sweetly spiced cake!

Watch this space for more such tastings!

Wine Tasting at Refurbished Cafe D’Art, Javea Port

Javea Port’s Cafe D’Art has enjoyed a make-over of late and to celebrate its re-inauguration I was invited to present a range of four of their wines, all at economical prices. Served with aperitivos of the house the wines and of cousre the food went down exceedingly well!

Cafe D’Art owner Toni is passionate about his wines – he has a wine distribution service too, so his entire portfolio of wines is keenly priced. We tasted: a charming white, made from Moscatel and Sauvignon Blanc; a full and fruity Rosado from Monastrell grapes; a young red again from Monastrell but whose skins had been left in contact with the juice for longer making the wine a deep dark red; and finally an oaked red made from Petit Verdot, a variety gaining in popularity here in Spain.

A successful night with many buying wine after and several staying for dinner!

Watch this space for the next one!

Bodegas Aragonesas, DO Campo de Borja



 Avid readers (so that’s Claire, my brother and my Aunty Joyce, I guess) may remember my December article ‘The Costa News Top Ten’. This annual article is gaining interest and, dare I say, fame and influence each year. For me it’s very difficult to write as I have to squeeze into just 10 places the best Spanish wines I have tasted for Cork Talk during the year.

 You can imagine the difficulty as there are so many wonderful exclusively Spanish wines from which to choose. It end’s up with me having to split the points I award to each wine, by decimal point to reach a final top ten conclusion and even then there are usually two who share a place, 3= for example, as it is just impossible to decide between them.

 As is my custom, when the list is finally completed and awaiting publication in all four titles of the Costa News Group, I send it also to those bodegas who have made it into the Top Ten. Whilst I’m not saying that this is the major ‘prize’ that such bodegas receive each year it is nevertheless important recognition to them as it is often the English speaking public, i.e. Costa News readers, who are buying their wines here in Spain.

 I often receive letters of acknowledgement and thanks. In the case of Bodegas Aragonesas, DO Campo De Borja, a leading light in the DO that sadly seems to be overshadowed in many consumers’ blinkered minds by the perhaps more illustrious and certainly more famous DOs that surround it (La Rioja, Navarra and Cariñena), I received further samples too!

 Our friends John and Mary have long been admirers of Bodegas Aragonesas’ perhaps most famous wine, Fagus de Coto de Hayas. Indeed it is this wine that causes John, a confessed Cabernet Sauvignon aficionado and dedicated fan, to stray away from his favoured variety and appreciate (equally?) the charm of Garnacha – the variety responsible for this super wine (90 points in Vinos de España’s excellent Gold Guide; and 91 points in Peñin).

 In November 2009 we went to their house for a top tasting which included Fagus and made me re-consider the placing for that year’s Top Ten. Fagus made it, with 92·5 Costa News Points, in 5th place.

 Luis Maza, Commercial Director of Bodegas Aragonesas sent me 4 wines to sample so it was only fair to repay the compliment and invite John and Mary too. Of course hangers-on(!) Hal & Jan, Ron, Jean & Eileen(!) got wind of it and suddenly we had a quorum!

 The first wine was the Coto de Hayas Roble 2008 made from a blend of Tempranillo and Cabernet Sauvignon and with the benefit of 3 months in new American Oak. Each variety is harvested and fermented separately and subsequently blended together for the oak and ageing. For the purposes of this tasting the wine was the entry level – a considerable step up from many entry levels for sure. Good fruit, some noticeable acidity and tannin which mellowed during the evening and in fact was very laid-back the next day when I enjoyed the wine even more. Decant the wine and it will be instantly ready!

 Coto de Hayas 2008 Garnacha Centenaria is the sort of wine that will convert any slave to Cabernet! This wine, as the name implies, is made from Garnacha vines of more than a hundred years of age, vines planted in the 19th Century! The low consequently low yield is harvested by hand and there follows a long maceration where the rich juice takes on colour, tannins, acidity and flavour – bags of it!

 Must (juice) from vines of this age should be handled with care – oak ageing is good, but it has to be subtle and not too long. French oak and three months only seems to be perfect as this wine is excellent. On the nose it’s full of rich dark, brambly fruit initially which with some time in the glass develops into a rich well-toasted coffee bean aroma too. In the mouth the richness fills the senses as well as the palate and there is a long finish as well.

 Coto de Hayas 2005 Reserva is made from Garnacha too, 40 years old this time and with characteristic dark fruit aromas and flavours. However it’s relative youth allows the winemaker to be a little more generous with the oak. It’s had 15 months in French and American oak plus of course time in bottle maturing in the heart of the bodega until the time for its release onto the market.

 The rich, mature fruit handles the oak perfectly and the two combine to give depth of flavour and a lasting finish. There’s the brambly blackberry fruit with some toasted vanilla from the American oak and some leather notes from the French with a slight dark chocolate note as you swallow. Lovely.

 Well the above proves that man shall not live by Fagus alone – but if you had to, it drink only Fagus it wouldn’t be a bad option! Fagus de Coto de Hayas 2006 certainly deserves its place in the Costa News Top Ten, and in your cellar.