Spanish Wine, Who’s Doing it Right?

apropos of almost nothing, Goya
Having been thoroughly chastised by Joe Manekin in this post over at OldWorldOldSchool over a glib comment I made about abandoning the wines of Spain entirely because I have too often found them too hot, fat, and round, I come to you loyal readers (i hope that plural is warranted) to ask, who is doing it right in Spain? Are there white wines from Spain worth trying? i have talked to many people about this and it would seem that among the wine geek set Spain is becoming more and more marginalized in favor of Italy, Germany, and especially France (having lived in France for almost a year I wear my Francophile tendencies proudly). The Spanish certainly don’t enjoy the reputation for wine they have by having made New World wine styles. Now i’ll be the first to admit that my experience with the wines of Spain has been less than methodical, i tend to try a flurry of wines all at once, not like them, and later try a different set with little or no research. I will purchase any suggestions you have and try them out in all due haste.

Some notes:

i already like wines coming from Bierzo, but more recommendations are welcome
i tend to prefer finesse over big and heavy, especially in regards to whites.
i’m not buying Vega Sicilia. Too rich for my blood.
i know about Lopez de Heredia
Sherry is out, as i already have a great deal of respect for it.
I prefer native grape varietals to imported ones. Chardonnay from Penedes is out.
Joe better answer.

~ by Cory Cartwright on January 23, 2009.

15 Responses to “Spanish Wine, Who’s Doing it Right?”

  1. I like Vina Ijalba which I think you can get at Terroir. Also other places. They make a 100% graciano that I’ve really enjoyed in the past. Also recommended to me the other night (but not yet tried) are the Riojas from Hermanos Pecina. They have the joven (no oak) and crianza 2000 (I think that’s the current release, always a positive sign) at Bi-Rite in the city.

    Generally though, I tend to agree with you and look elsewhere besides Spain. I know I shouldn’t because there is really great terroir to be had but, well, I don’t know. Time for a trip to Spain, I think!

    – wolfgang

  2. luc and i just ordered a bunch of really digest,light spanish reds from rias baixas and tenerife (cab franc like!!!) and quite a few sherry’s as well,should arrive friday,while i’m away…..
    i know it’s been really hard to find good real spanish wines but i really think change is on the way with distributors like jose pastor and demaisons selections(cool txakolis,white rose…)

  3. cory, i don’t know anything about terrier, but having lived in spain for a year, i appeal to you and all your readers, DO NOT ABANDON SPANISH WINES. the thing about it is that they are not that great at marketing and exporting wine. rioja is good, but some of the absolute best wine i had came from where i lived, castilla la mancha in a place called valdepenas. look for tempranillo. a blend, i know. but rich beautiful lovely red. look for DO, demonicion de origen. let me know what that terrier does with that.

  4. p.s. love the goya.

  5. pps. to be specific, try to get your hands on vegaval plata. tinto gran reserva. beautiful, full bodied, sufficiently complex, but still great drinking wine. let it air for a bit before drinking. have some queso manchego, jamon serrano, olives and almonds.

  6. anna’s right,don’t abandon spanish wines,abandon american wines instead!

  7. or austrian ones

  8. Wolfgang, thanks for the recommendations. The rioja sounds old school, so no problems there.

    Anna, i’m not going to abandon Spanish wines just yet. The valdepenas looks interesting, as well as everything Wolfgang mentioned (if i can’t trust him, who can i trust?)

    gg, i can’t in good conscience stop trying American wine. Isn’t the theme for this year HOPE? Like i hope some more winemakers remember, in a moment of atavism, the wines of their grandparents and start to roll back 30 years of fucking with wines.

    i won’t comment on your crusade against Austrian wines. You guys should bring over some spanish wines, if you find some good ones.

  9. i think you should definitely comment on my crusade against overpriced fucking shit gruner veltliner!!( you know i’m guilty of selling some of them..).
    cheers from france…..

  10. I do have a problem buying $40+ bottles of gruner when a $12 can be just as good. Enjoy France, drink plenty of selosse, bring me back something ;)

  11. I really enjoy the Pecina Riojas. ’07 Joven tastes a bit like northern Rhone syrah. ’00 Crianza is classic Rioja, transparent red fruited. Nice. ’99 Reserva is very good, and ’98 Gran Reserva is terrific. Martinsancho Verdejo is the real deal – for a treat cellar it for at least 3 years (and much, much longer if the conditions are right). With some bottle age it tastes like good Loire chenin. All for around $16. Ribera Sacra is up and coming, for now prices are a bit high but look for more wines from this area. Godello can be tasty and relatively cheap. That’s it for now….

  12. Thanks Joe. I picked up a few wines from Soif last nice (a sans soufre godello) and…something else Spanish. I’m going to start my spanish wine education next week.

  13. how’s that spanish wine education going?

    • Good. I picked up a variety of wines on recommendation, and ordered some older stuff. Will be posting about it soon.

  14. Bonjour Cory.

    Since you are a proud francophile, I thought you might like to know about, the social network for francophiles.

    You can also follow us on Twitter for daily French culture bites and francophile treats! @francophilia

    Merci et à bientôt.

    Pamela Poole (LaGoulue)

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