Presenters Noelle and Bob check out the Christmas Day wines!
Smoked Salmon Moose:
I’ve chosen two wines here – the first a Cava for the amuse gueueles before sitting down to eat and the second, a white wine to accompany the starter.
Bodegas Domini de la Vega’s ArteMayor Brut Nature Reserva 2004/2005 is a stunning Cava – in fact Spain’s highest ranked (with 93 points out of 100) in American Wine Guru Robert Parker’s list! This Valencia bodega surprised the cava-making fraternity when two of their reserva wines were voted the best in Spain at the turn of this century and they go from strength to strength.
ArteMayor is made from reserva Chardonnay and Macabeo, there are bready notes as you’d expect but a much greater depth of flavour with some herbs on the nose. Top cava which will delight all!
From DO Valdeorras, in Galicia, Pezas da Portela 2007 is an excellent wine from the Val de Sil Bodega. It’s made from 100% Godello, darling grape variety of the DO but these grapes are selected from different parcelas, fermented separately in oak with stirring of the lees and left for a longer period in tank to blend perfectly together. The harmony between the ripe fruit (look for white stoned fruit) and oak couldn’t be better and the whole will make a super foil for the smoked salmon.
Roast Turkey:
Like Pinot Noir of Burgundy and, for some, fine Bordeaux made from Cabernet and Merlot, Spain’s Tempranillo has a certain affinity with turkey. Many commentators look to La Rioja or nearby Ribera del Duero for perfect matches – I have in the past myself, and been delighted with the results. However this time I’m going with the same grape variety, though known by one of Tempranillo’s aliases, Tinta de Toro, but coming, as you might expect from DO Toro.
Bodegas Fariña has been making top class wine near Toro for generations and their flagship wine, Gran Colegiata 2004, is a perfect wine for the turkey and all it’s trimmings. Dark and light red fruits (strawberry, loganberry and blackberry) and earthy minerality (think Autumn leaves) with integrated oak and a touch of mountain herbs (thyme and a whiff of bay) combine on the palate to complement the light and dark meat of the Christmas Turkey!
Christmas Pudding:
Finally, as Noelle so succinctly put it, the liquid-Christmas pudding as experienced when you open a bottle of Bodegas Peréz-Barquero’s, Gran Barquero PX (Pedro Ximenez) Sherry from DO Montilla-Moriles – will go absolutely perfectly with Christmas Pudding! The dried figs and ripe dates on the nose will blend so well with the pudding that this really is a marriage made in heaven!
** Please note that Noelle’s alternative Christmas dessert made with succulent Oranges, so appropriate for South East Spain will be very happy to be accompanied with Bodegas Vicente Gandía’s Fusta Nova dessert wine made from Moscatel which always has a lick of orange peel on the nose and the palate; or look again to Bodegas Fariña for their white dessert wine too – another perfect match with similar orange notes.
Happy Christmas – Salud! 




 Most wine books and experts agree that wine tasting should be in the order of white to red and dry to sweet. The first wine tasted at La Vinoteca, Calpe recently was Bodegas Sierra Cantabria Crianza 2006, their most economically priced red wine, followed by three further red wines, two of them weighty fellows, but ending with their Organza 2008 white wine. Unusual!

 The crianza was 98% Tempranillo with a tiny amount of Graciano blended in too. I found the wine only palatable at first, largely due to it being a little too chilled – a comment my fellow tasters also made. However as the wine both breathed and warmed there was a slight coconut aroma, coming from the French oak barrels, in which, along with American oak barrels too, it had aged for 14 months.

Sierra Cantabria Cuvee 2005, 22€, is made from vines of more than 30 years old which have been treated in an organic way in as much as no artificial fertilizers have been used in the vineyard. It was bottled without filtration and with only gravity to clarify the wine.

 It has a darker, more intense colour than the crianza, and is just showing some faint browning at the edges, indicating that it is ageing in bottle. On the nose there are earthy, undergrowth notes underpinning the dark fruit quality.

 Colección Privada 2007 retails at 40€. The vines for this wine are over 50 years of age, that’s old in La Rioja where vines are often grubbed up at 40! Harvesting was strictly by hand ensuring good quality bunches which were then subjected to the selection table test where any damaged or below par grapes were discarded. It enjoyed 18 months in oak, followed by further time in bottle in the cellars.

 This wine has the tannin and structure to age and indeed it will be better with more time under its belt, but for me it needed greater fruit content for it to age for much more than 5 -7 years. There are notes of herbs a touch of coffee and some spice as well as some floral perfume, but not a lot of fruit on the nose. A mineral, slatey element complemented the wine which will be super with food.

 El Puntido 2006 is five Euros more expensive. Opaque and very dark coloured this is a big wine made from old vines whose grapes have been examined on two sorting tables. It’s had 16months in French oak from which coffee tones mix with excellent dark and juicy blueberry and blackberry fruits. It was my favourite of the evening with a long finish helping to justify its price-tag and a wine to grace any dining table.

 So to the final wine, a Rioja white! This wine has been both fermented and aged in oak. The medium-high toasted French oak adds significantly, but not unfavourably, to the overall taste. When in barrel the wine was stirred with its lees twice a week adding a creaminess to the final taste. A pleasing fresh acidity cleaned the palate after the onslaught of the big reds.

 However freshening up the palate is not the aim of fine white wine and I’m afraid that in my opinion the reason why the white wine was enjoyed at the end of the tasting rather than at the beginning has more to do with the fact it was the best in terms of readiness to drink than it being the best order to serve it.


Sunday 5th December, 11:45 hrs – 13:00 hrs Bay Radio ( listen to the live on-air tasting with recommendations for your Christmas Day Meal. The wines are excellent, perfect for such a special day!

We will be tasting a top Cava for the aperitif; an excellent white fo the starter; a super red for that turkey; and finally a delicious Sherry-Style wine to go with Christmas Pudding.

So have a pen and paper to hand – you can even call the studio to comment and ask questions!