THE COSTA NEWS TOP TEN WINES 2014
The best ten Spanish wines I’ve tasted this year!
No. 10. Canals & Munné Cava Gran Reserva 2010.
The Gran Reserva 2010 is made with 40% Macabeo, 30% Chardonnay and 30% Parellada. It has clearly benefited from its four years in bottle resting on its lees as the depth of flavour is phenomenal. There are some cavas of this sort of age that have become a little tired, with an off-putting musty granny’s attic aroma. Canals & Munné’s Gran Reserva is the antithesis of this sort of cava. It’s as fresh as if it were years younger, so therefore superb for celebrations and of course aperitifs.
However the time in bottle with its lees, plus the addition of a sizeable proportion of Chardonnay, which was clearly harvested at optimum ripeness, have added an enviable depth and complexity. The wine has typical aromas of sparkling wine, patisserie notes, fresh bread and, from the Macabeo, some reference to an unsweetened apple pastry with a lick of dry cider too. The Chardonnay then comes to the fore, with a buttery, slightly smoky, faintly vanilla aroma and flavour.
No. 9. Ramon Bilbao Gran Reserva 2006 DOCa Rioja.
In the glass it’s brick red giving a clue as to its age. On the nose you’ll find tantalising earthy, soft red fruit aromas – sniff out loganberry and raspberry with perhaps some not quite ripe strawberry acidity to keep the wine fresh! You’ll also find some herbs, understated rosemary, slightly more prominent thyme underpinned with enveloping bay leaf and some smoky oak.
But it’s on the palate where the wine really excels (as if the above wasn’t quite enough!) it’s delicate and yet full with lasting fruit flavours kept alive by a refreshing acidic lick and a long, long finish. Wow, I loved this wine!
No. 8. Colet Clàssic Penedés Assemblage Brut Sparkling Wine.
This very, very lightly rosé coloured wine is the result of the gentle pressing of the black grape Pinot Noir, which makes up 55% of the blend. The rest is made up by Chardonnay, coming from one specific, terroir favoured vineyard.
Whilst not wanting to appear a wannabe Champagne one cannot avoid the similarities. It’s a super, full and elegant wine that looks so appealing in the glass. On the nose there are faint strawberry elements mixing with aromas of the pasteleria as you pass its open door first thing in the morning. Elegant, yes, but that doesn’t mean delicate. Its 30 months en rima have given it structure, some power, a mouth-filling presence and a lovely slightly creamy finish.
No. 7. Torre Galimany 2010 Cava Gran Reserva.
Sensational Sparkling Wine, exemplary Gran Reserva Cava! A wonderful aroma with white flowers and brioche and a super freshness. Though full and rich it still has elegance in abundance as well as an acidic lift to retain its freshness. There’s a light earthiness to the wine that contributes to the body and makes a good match with mushrooms and meat. Plus, the typical yeasty character derived from the second fermentation along with that floral aroma and faint apple and pear, make this a wine to savour.
No. 6. Casa Don Ángel Bobal DO Utiel-Requena.
A classic Bobal wine crafted with loving care by my friend Felix who has managed to embody not only the natural characteristics of the variety, but also a sense of place too. Made from grapes, twice selected from 100+ years old vines, the wine has been aged for a total of 18 months in American and French oak – for added depth of flavour and complexity.
Typical black cherry notes are complemented by peppery spice, a slight cinnamon nuance and a certain terroir-led minerality. In the mouth it is rich and full and yet elegant too. Its 93 Peñin points puts it firmly in Gold Medal position, which is confirmed by its listing in the Proensa Guide’s 500 Best Wines in Spain!
No. 5. Fino de El Puerto de Santa María En Rama DO Jerez.
I urge you to try the En Rama style sherry that is becoming so popular – this is exemplary.
Very pale gold in colour, the aromas that escape when pouring are seductive. You’ll find a touch of saltiness, bone dry, rounded, with balanced, almost measured, acidity and such depth, complexity and length. Drink it with pan-fried slightly salted almonds, Jamón Serrano, Semi and Curado hard Manchego cheeses, and of course, just by itself! Excellent!
No. 4. Quincha Corral 2011 Pago El Terrerazo.
It has an abundance of dark cherry fruit coming from the 100% 40 years old Bobal vines, with an appealing black pepper spiciness. It’s powerful, yet subtle and elegant. Its rich fruit emanates from Bobal vines planted in 1945 on the bodega’s most prized vineyard. Black cherry fruit, and bags of it, with fully integrated tobacco and coconut oak notes. It’s rich, full and rounded – concentrated and structured in a way that will see the wine unwind over the next five years to be drinking perfectly for a further five years and more.
No. 3. Belondrade & Lurton Verdejo DO Rueda.
Superb dry white wine. The 100% Verdejo has been fermented and aged for 10 months in French Oak and then for a further 5 – 6 months in bottle, before its release onto the market. I love this style of Verdejo – you have all the fruit and slightly vegetal characteristics of young wines made with this variety, but with an added dimension of grapefruit, a touch of smokiness and a great depth of flavour.
No. 2. Quest 2012 DO Costers del Segre.
Quest is made with Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot and Merlot fermented entirely in ancient stone vats hewn out of the mountainside! The 2012 is still young, vibrant in its blackcurrant, blackberry and dark plum fruit, a delight on the palate with no slightly unripe harshness as can be the case with some young wines from the two Cabernets’ home, Bordeaux.
You’ll find some vanilla and a touch of cloves on the nose which is wholly integrated with the succulent fruit when the wine hits the palate. It’s a lovely juicy wine but with a backbone of mature tannin, acidity and wonderful mineral notes that will ensure that it ages for probably five years and more. Deeply flavoured, structured, complex wine!
No. 1. Blecua 2007 DO Somontano.
The Costa News best wine of 2014, Blecua 2007, is made with the best bunches of hand harvested Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Garnacha and Tempranillo selected from the oldest vineyards. Then a further selection takes place in the bodega! Each variety is fermented separately in 18,000 litre French Oak ‘foudres’.
There follows a 12 month period where the wine is aged separately in new French oak barrels. After this time only the finest barrels are selected to blend together for a further eight months in oak to make the final wine. And what a wine! Magnificent! Proensa 96; Peñin 94; Harkness 99!
Firm but gentle tannin, all dark bramble and blackcurrant fruit with earthy notes. Fascinating complexity with layers of pleasure including fruit of course, but also mountain herbs, bay leaf and thyme, a faint touch of dark chocolate, but not in any way bitter, a very slight smoked finely chopped coconut and rich fullness that seems to go on forever! Wonderful wine!