Dolce Divas Concert – the Wines!


It’s quite an honour to be asked to recommend and source the wines for a Classical Music Concert. I’m grateful for the opportunity to do so, provided by the Javea International Baptist Church for their Easter Concert, featuring the beautiful music of the equally beautiful Dolce Divas!

However, I’ll admit, it wasn’t a difficult task! Firstly I knew I would soon be travelling to Bodegas Fariña, DO Toro (more on this superb visit soon!) where I would surely be able to find either a red or a rosado of suitable quality.

Secondly, I’d also be visiting DO Rueda and considering that every 3·6 bottles (don’t you love statistics!?) of white wine sold in Spain comes from this amazing rags to riches area of production, it was clear that there would a plethora of white wines from which to choose.

And of course there was always my good friends at Bodegas Castaño, DO Yecla, who, although they sell 97% of their wines abroad, still keep some for the domestic market. As I said, easy job!

Sauvignon Blanc is considered to be a French variety, it makes the wonderful Sancerre and Pouilly-Fumé wines in Loire Valley. However the success of wines from these areas seemingly gave Sauvignon Blanc itchy feet. It travelled all over the world, and as we know it made more than a significant mark in New Zealand, from whence now hails, some would argue, the world’s best Sauvignon.

Let’s remember that Sauvignon’s passport has many stamps – one of which is from Spain, and in particular, the wine growing area to the north-west of Madrid, DO Rueda. Here, Sauvignon competes for vineyard space with the curiously similar (in some respects) local indigenous variety, Verdejo. And, as you’ve read here in Cork Talk, one of the bodegas in the vanguard of quality Rueda wine making using Verdejo is Palacio de Bornos.

They don’t do a bad Sauvignon, either! So it was this Bornos Sauvignon 2014 that I selected for the white wine offering (pun intended – offering, church, get it?!). Judging by the post concert comments, I think I got it right! Palacios de Bornos Sauvignon has all the classic characteristics of the Sauvignon that everyone wants to drink these days.

Highly perfumed: look for gooseberries, a touch of nettle and asparagus with some slightly under-ripe kiwi fruit (those New Zealanders again!) and a passing nod to fennel, it’s a super fruit driven, clean and refreshing dry white wine. If it’s not in your fridge already – do something about it, now! Well, immediately after you’ve read the rest of this column, at least!

Bodegas Fariña’s Rosado 2014 is made with their Tinta de Toro grape variety – though regular Cork Talk readers will know that this is really indicative of their   homage to Spain’s most grown and loved variety, Tempranillo – as it’s the same grape by another name. A grape by any other name, would smell as sweet? Well, no, William, it’s not sweet, actually!

In the glass the wine has presence – it’s not a shrinking violet and it’s not the pallid pink that seems to be de rigeur these days. Darkly coloured, it’s a wine in the classic Spanish rosado category. I’ve often said that Spain champions rosé wine better than any other country. Known, primarily as a red wine country (though this is definie tly changing), it’s only natural that winemakers of the past would have also made rosado wines.

It’s a tradition that still holds sway. Look at any Spanish wine shop and supermarket and you’ll see lots of rosé wines for sale. It’s a difficult choice, so let me help a little. For example, Bodegas Fariña, a family owned and run winery in DO Toro, has an enviable reputation as a producer of top quality red wines, with a very fair pricing structure too.

Their Colegiata Rosado 2014 is a lovely, bright cherry colour and looks beautiful in the glass. Swirl and sniff and you’ll find lots of soft red fruit aromas, the primary one for me is loganberry – raspberry, with attitude! There’s a lurking strawberry presence as well as redcurrant and cherry that follow through onto the palate too.

The red wine I chose, was in fact that which I chose for my recent wedding – to the lovely Claire! Hécula, from Bodegas Castaño is the wine that put the bodega, and indeed DO Yecla on the world wine map! Sold at an incredible value for money 6 – 7€, Hécula received over 90 points for Americna wine guru, Rober Parker, the first time he tasted it – and it has consistenty in the early 90s since.

It’s made with Monastrell, the favoured variety of South East Spain, which, although exhibiting slightly different aroma and flavour profiles depending on where it’s grown – i.e. DOs Valencia, Alicante, Yecla, Bullas, Almansa and Jumilla – invariably produces super-juicy, fruit driven wine.

Monastrell (known as Mourvedre in France) is also happy to spend time in oak, which when judiciously handled adds an extra depth of flavour, of course, and complexity too – but always retaining the fruit presence. Hécula has had six months in French oak and the balance is, well, perfect, making it a lovely wine for drinking on its own as well as with food, light and dark meats as well as cheeses.

The JIBC ( members provided an excellent ‘Bring and Share’ tapas choice for post concert drinks and bites and I was delighted to receive positive wine comments on behalf of the bodegas above. Plus, it was a real pleasure to hear the praise heaped upon Dolce Divas ( for an excellent concert whilst the stars were also enjoying a glass (or two!) of wine!

Contact Colin: and through his website and via Twitter @colinonwine.

Colin is also posting videos on Spanish wine – please see and hear more at search Colin Harkness On Wine.