I suppose that it depends on the size of the budget as to which Spanish wines one would choose for one’s wedding. There’s a huge selection of wines made in Spain, ranging from perfectly enjoyable, economically viable entry level, to top quality wines which will compete favourably with the best in the world. Therefore there are any number that would fit perfectly into a wedding scenario.
Charged with everything else to do prior to our recent wedding, my wife (now!) Claire, was happy to leave me with the choice of wine. I got off lightly – the lists containing myriads of ‘stuff’ to do for a wedding was baffling to a simple wine writer, so I was delighted to be commissioned to organise something about which I know a little, at least!
It was an easy choice. I turned to my good friends at two ‘local’ bodegas: Bodegas Dominio de la Vega, for the Cava; and to Bodegas Castaño for the still wines. The choice was based on each bodega’s price/quality ratio anyway, but I was bowled over by their generous discounts which was a great benefit in terms of the overall cost of the event. It was also beneficial to our guests, many of whom commented most favourably about the cavas and wines served. A result!
We had well over a hundred guests at the Ermita San Josep (kindly donated for the day by the Anglican Chaplaincy) who, like ourselves, were quite desperate for something to drink after the service. What better choice than Dominio de la Vega’s Brut Cava? I love this fizz!
Made with 100% Macabeo and having spent well over the minimum period en rima (resting in the cellars in bottles containing the yeast sediment following the second fermentation) this wine balances perfectly sparkling wine’s essential freshness with depth of flavour. A balance that is assisted by Dominio de la Vegas strict policy of including the month of disgorgement on the back label. A lesson in transparency for all sparkling wine producers as it ensures that consumers know at what developmental stage the wine has arrived before buying.
On the nose there is the unmistakeable aroma of cider, coming from the green apple characteristic of the Macabeo variety, in harmony with typical sparkling wine patisserie notes. For extra measure there’s also a slight floral note. Guests and ourselves had our thirst quenched while enjoying some depth of flavour to accompany the nibbles generously provided by Javea International Baptist Church.
At the reception later (hosted by our great friends Ros and Mick in their wonderful finca) guests were welcomed with Rosado Brut cava from the same stable. Made from 100% Garnacha this is a fizz with attitude as well as finesse – a perfect combination! It has a dark colour from a relatively long maceration with its black skins, which also gives the wine a greater fruit depth.
Rather than typical raspberry rosado notes, this is more loganberry, red currant and early season cherry. There’s a depth to the wine too – something to talk about whilst waiting for dinner!
I was fortunate to have been in the right place at the right time, when Bodegas Castaño made their first Macabeo/Chardonnay white wine. Whilst Macabeo had been a permitted variety in DO Yecla for many years, it was solely through the good offices of the Castaño family that the Consejo Regulador added the ubiquitous Chardonnay to the list of approved varieties. It’s made a big difference to DO Yecla’s white wine profile.
The Chardonnay enjoys partial fermentation in oak. The wonderful paraguayo/white peach aromas are thus augmented. There is also some green apple freshness (guess where from!) making the wine a super fruit-driven mouthful which went perfectly with the array of tapas we had for starters.
Our red wine was that which made not only Bodegas Castaño famous, but also the whole of the DO Yecla. The highly influential Robert Parker, USA wine guru par excellence, gave the first Hécula over 90 points and suddenly Yecla was on the wine map of the world and this lovely100% Monastrell wine sold out!
Over the intervening years all subsequent vintages have maintained this 90+ standard and I was as delighted with guests’ praising comments as I was with the aroma, flavour and depth of the wine! It perfectly suited our main course, cooked with great aplomb by our super Spanish friend, Pepa. Look for damsons, black olives, a touch of dark chocolate on the finish and understated vanilla from its six months on oak.
We finished with a flourish! A superb, rich dark chocolate cake had been made for us by our lovely friend Linda. Bodegas Castaño again, provided the accompanying dessert wine, Castaño Monastrell Dulce. If you haven’t tasted this wine yet (I’ve been banging on about it for years, so you should have!) you simply must do so!
It’s so rich and yet has balanced and integrated acidity making it racy and elegant at the same time. It’s made from late harvested Monastrell grapes coming from old vines. It spends a short time in oak to add depth of flavour and complexity but the oak is entirely integrated.
Perfect with chocolate cake, but also Summer Pudding as well as with blue and mature cheeses. Wow, what a wine!
And wow, what a wedding! Our thanks to all who attended and contributed so much – we’re a lucky couple; and, as you can see, I’m an extremely lucky man!
Contact Colin: firstname.lastname@example.org and through his unique and informative website www.colinharknessonwine.com (where you’ll see details of all Colin’s wine related events, visits, articles etc) as well as via Twitter @colinonwine.