The tripling of the number of Spanish Masters of Wine in one fell swoop recently is a further indication of the Spanish Wine World’s intent. Not only are they making top quality wines that can rub shoulders with the world’s best, but they are also becoming increasingly more prominent in the fields of wine education and wine promotion.


Pedro Ballesteros MW was the lone Spanish Master of Wine until recently, having been joined, just a couple of weeks ago, by Fernando Mora MW and Andreas Kubach MW. And, I also hear that there are other Spaniards who are within reach of achieving this coveted title, with either just their final exams to sit, or their theses to complete!


However, it was indeed Pedro Ballesteros MW who recommended Bodegas Verum’s Malvasía, to me – albeit indirectly! I was unable this year to attend Fenavin, the excellent biennial Spanish Wine Fair for professionals, held in Ciudad Real, but I read as much about it as I could.


I was sad not to be able to go, even more so when I read of Señor Ballesteros’ presentation of Spain’s New Wave white wines. In fact, I’ve been banging on for some time now about the rise and rise in quality in white wines, in this, a country that has always and rightly, until recently, been touted as a classic red wine nation.


I contacted Bodegas Verum ( who were happy to send me, not just their white wine but also two of their red wines – well I could hardly refuse, could I!


Located in Tomelloso, a small town I’ve visited in La Mancha, the bodega has clearly set out its stall – it wants to make wines that pay tribute to the winemaking history of the area, that speak of the soils in which the vines are growing, whilst simultaneously striving to  break new ground in terms of styles and varieties.


On the palate the Malvasía had plenty, but it really is on the nose where this wine makes its largest impression. It’s an attractive bottle shape with a lovely blue label and foil and when the cork is pulled there is an instant floral fragrance – white rose petals and a touch of magnolia with tantalising wisps of honeysuckle. As the wine is poured and the glass raised to the nose, the aromas develop – you’ll find the zest from citrus peel, that’s lemon, lime and grapefruit, and, curiously, though positively, a slight touch of white pepper (I loved this wine with a Thai Red Curry!).


On the palate, there’s also a minerality coming through to join the party – with a good mouth-feel and an understated creamy element from its time spent on its lees. Six months in bottle before release onto the market has added a depth to the wine. Whilst this wine is dangerously easy to drink, it also has a contemplative element too!


Verum Roble is one of the new breed of partially oaked red wines, where the winemaker wants some oak influence – some aroma and a little flavour, but not too much!  The balance here is just right, in some ways it could be said that you have go looking for the oak, it’s that integrated.


Made with Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Tempranillo (whose names figure loud and clear on the label) which were harvested in the cool of the night, the wine has fruit aromas to the fore. There’s some blackberry and plum with a little strawberry hiding in the background! The French oak is hardly discernable, adding depth and complexity and maybe a little vanilla and a trace of coconut.


I’d made a turkey meat casserole, with beer and mushrooms used to make a rich sauce, and thought I’d try this wine as a pairing – I’m glad I did, as it worked rather well! It will also be very good with meat pasta dishes and semi-curado cheese. I enjoyed the 2013 vintage, which I think is drinking perfectly now, though its makers tell us it could last perhaps another three years. Well, why take the risk – drink it now!


I’m not surprised that the Verum Tempranillo V Reserva Familiar 2010 carries a sticker proclaiming its Gold Medal at the Tempranillos of the World competition; nor am I shocked that Peñin, the most comprehensive Spanish wine guide, gives it an impressive 90 points!


At 20€ a bottle, it’s not cheap, but firstly, wine of this quality is never going to be cheap; and secondly, were it produced under the auspices of a famous Spanish Denominación de Origen, it would be at least 10€ more expensive, minimum!


The Tempranillo grapes were growing on the highest part of the estate, and harvested in the cool of the night. It’s clear that only the best fruit was used, and this, at its optimum ripeness. There’s a little liquorice and even tar on the nose, with some big fruit, mostly dark forest fruit, coming in and staying on the palate too.


You’ll find a little more French oak on the nose and palate, bringing with it complexity and a pleasing roundness to the wine as you hold it in your mouth before swallowing. Then comes the pleasure of the long finish – and this is without food! Pair it with steak, turkey – the dark meat particularly, game and casseroles, as well as curado cheese. Lovely wine, great winery!


Contact/Follow Colin – Twitter @colinonwine  Facebook Colin Harkness.


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