In Case You Missed It – The Cork Talk Top Ten Spanish Wines of 2018!

THE TOP TEN!

Ok, I accept that there are other work related stresses worse than this, but, let me assure, choosing the Top Ten Spanish Wines tasted for Cork Talk from the start to the finish of 2018, is stressful!

It’s my own fault really. At its inception many years ago I decided to restrict it to just ten Spanish wines and, despite the yearly anxiety, I’m going to keep to that parameter! So, here are the best ten wines I’ve tasted for Cork Talk this year, beginning as always with number ten.

TEN – I’m delighted to include a sherry in this lear’s Top Ten! The Palo Cortado style, Dos Cortados, from the excellent Bodegas Lustau is rich and round, with refreshing acidity. Only two barrels of this twenty years old sherry made, making it rather difficult to get hold of! It’swarming, with almost a brandy note on the finish. www.lustau.es/en/ 

NINE – Montesquius 2004 Gran Reserva Cava Brut Nature. (A late entry after the Verema Tasting in Alicante). I only tasted it last month, this Cava is sold only in Magnum, costing about 50€/btl – but, when you consider that a Magnum is two bottle’s worth of wine, and you taste it – you’ll see that this represents excellent value for money! Xarel.lo and Macabeo – therefore very Spanish! Full on the palate, mature nose with pears and stewed apples as well as typical panaderia bread and pastry notes too! (www.montesquius.com)

EIGHTH EQUAL – Nimi Tossal 2015 Orange Wine, is fermented in barrel after a long maceration, it rested for a further 12 months in oak, with its lees contributing to the finished wine. Everything in this wine is in perfect balance – it’s dry and fresh, there’s a little butter blending with panaderia notes and a very slight saline touch on the finish. www.joandelacasa.com/en/

And Pigar Orange Wine made with Tardana (aka Planta Nova) and a little Moscatel both of which were kept in contact with the skins for 25 days and fermented in tinajas, earthenware amphorae, where it was aged for four months. It has a certain nutty aroma, there’s a sense of it being a little like a spirit in its mouth-feel, flavour and smell, with faint touches of very dry cider (the English type, served cloudy – though the wine is clear) and perhaps bruised apples and pears. Bodegas y Viñedos Pigar.

SIX – Finca Calvestra 2017 Vino Blanco (another late entry, this time after the Grandes Pagos de España tasting, again in November!) Always thought of as grape variety lacking in character, Merseguera, indigenous to the Valencia region we are shown here how much it can actually give to the taster looking for something different! Eleven months on its lees in French oak barrels have given the wine another dimension. There’s a touch of dried apricot on the nose with understated creaminess and mango on the palate. Perfectly integrated oak. www.mustiguillo.com

FIVE –  The 2009 Selección de Añada (yep, that’s 9 years old!) is almost regal in its style. This wine is always given a minimum extra year developing in bottle after its 36 months on its lees, before release. It is a splendid white wine, at around 30€ it’s expensive – but so is a Rolls Royce! Custard fruit on the nose, supported by a creamy nuttiness, perhaps hazelnuts. On the palate it has body, presence, but not attitude – it is the personification of elegance. www.pazodesenorans.com/

FOUR – Muga Reserva Selección Especial 2014. We have a Magnum of this wine laid down – not sure if I can wait much longer! Tempranillo, Garnacha, Mazuelo and Graciano in perfect harmony. Fermented in French oak with indigenous yeasts and aged for 28 months. Think top quality Rioja, think this wine! Red and dark berry fruit, roasted coffee, vanilla, caramel and a little herby spice too! www.bodegasmuga.com

THREE – Finca Moncloa 2014 VdlT de Cádiz made with Cab Sauv, Syrah, Tintilla de Rota (indigenous to Jerez area) and Petit Verdot. Another of the Grandes Pagos de España (GPE) wines this is a revelation! From the area best known for its fortified wines comes a red wine of pure class. It’s had a year on French and American oak with a further 12 months in bottle before release. Limited production! www.fincamoncloa.es

TWO WINE – San Román 2015, DO Toro, made with Tinta de Toro. (GPE). Tasting beautifully now, with lots of super dark forest fruits, plus it has the tannin and acidity for it to age for years. Elegance, combines with vivacious fruit and a perfect weight on the palate. It’s had two years in a selection of new and used French and American oak, giving the wine depth and complexity, with a long, long finish! www.bodegasanroman.com

NUMERO UNO, THE TOP WINE OF 2018 – Santa Rosa 2007, Bodegas Enrique Mendoza! As the GPE tasting was at Bodegas Enrique Mendoza, Pepe generously gave us a vertical tasting of his flagship wine, Santa Rosa! It was a mighty difficult choice but I’ve gone for the 11 years old, yet sprightly as you like, 2007 vintage! Cabernet, Merlot and Shiraz, incredibly fruit driven after such a time, with consummate elegance, perfect balance – divine wine! The best Cork Talk Spanish Wine of 2018! www.bodegasmendoza.com colin@colinharknessonwine.comwww.colinharknessonwine.com

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