Spain is probably one of my favourite wine producing countries.
There is nothing like having a cold glass of Albariño with Fresh Scallops or if you’re lucky enough some Fresh Lobster. If you are not a fish eater, perhaps enjoy with an Indian or Thai dish, this grape will complement the spices. Or simply enjoy as an aperitif to cleanse the palate.
Or on a cold winter’s night, sitting by the fire, sipping on a full bodied glass of Red Rioja, enjoy with a home cooked Sunday roast Lamb, serve at a dinner party with Venison, or simply serve with a selection of meats and cheeses.
I am going to talk through two of my favourite Spanish grapes, and recommend two wines that you can buy in all 8 O’Donovans off Licence Stores, and Online www.odonovansofflicence.com.
But first just a quick rundown on the Rias Baixas region; The GI (Geographical Indication) of this region is, a PDO (Protected Designation of Origin). PDOs are smaller areas with more tightly defined regs, Each PDO has a unique flavour that can’t be copied by any other wine because the wine must be made according to the laws. Spain has several traditional labelling terms for PDO. The Rias Baixas region is DO (Denominación de Origen).
Starting with the beautiful elegant Albariño grape, typically grown in Rias Baixas Region, North West Spain. The Albariño grape has a very distinctive floral aroma, along with mouthfeel of peach, apricots and a bitterness of citrus fruits. High in acidity but unusually light, usually with an abv of 11.5% – 12.5%.
The high altitude and cooler climate of the Rias Baixas region stops the grape from over ripening giving it fresh bright acidity, Albariño is best enjoyed young, to ensure its trademark acidity and bold fruity palate.
There are a few theories behind the Albariño grape and its timing. When it was first produced, was it brought in the 12th Century or as early as the 5th Century? What we do know though is that this grape has been grown in the Rias Baixas region for thousands of years. In the mid-20th century, a new generation of wine growers were taking over, which allowed the Albariño grape become better established and renown, spreading throughout the region.
My Favourite White
I’m going to introduce to you my current favourite Spanish White Wine;
Paco Lola Albariño 2019, from the Rias Baixas region, this wine will definitely make you feel alive and refreshed. With a fresh acidity, aromas of white and tropical fruit. On the nose you will get subtle floral undertones. With a long finish, this young wine has a gorgeous citrus aftertaste. Pair with anything from fresh pasta, to shellfish, or spicy Asian food, the acidity of this wine, will bring out the flavours of any of the above. Currently retailing Sep ‘21 at €18, available in all 8 stores Cork City & County, also available online www.odonovansofflicence.com.
Back to Spain and their wine laws; the wine laws in Spain define specific ageing criteria for Spanish wines. They are defined by the length of time the wine is aged, both in barrel and in the bottle, before it can hit the shelves. The period of ageing has a huge impact on the style and quality of the wine. In order of increasing minimum age, they are Joven, Crianza, Reserva and Gran Reserva.
The most important region for Premium Spanish reds is Rioja DOCa. Rioja is the oldest Designation of Origin in Spain. The main grape for this moderate climate is Tempranillo. This grape can be full or medium bodied, with medium acidity, medium tannins and red fruit flavours. What determines the styles of Red Riojas is the oak ageing, this softens the tannins and gives a sweet vanilla flavour to the wine.
My Favourite Red
Now to introduce you to my favourite Spanish Red Wine;
Marques De La Concordia Rioja Reserva 2015, take notice of the Reserva in the name, this wine has been aged for 24 months in American Oak Barrels, and later remains racked for 12 months in the bottle before hitting the shelves.
This full bodied red belongs to the DO Rioja region, made from 100% Tempranillo grapes, hand-harvested in the Rioja Alta vineyards located 600m above sea level.
With a very intense cherry red colour, with velvety soft tannins due to ageing, on the nose you will get subtle spice and oak flavours, with dark bramble fruits. You will not be disappointed on the palate, as you get flavours of blackberries and dark cherry fruits, with secondary flavours of vanilla and cinnamon. This perfectly balanced rioja, has a lovely long and elegant finish. Enjoy this delicious red, with strong meats, such as venison and duck, or perfect for that Sunday roast Lamb. Currently retailing Sep ‘21 at €16, available in all 8 stores Cork City & County, also available online www.odonovansofflicence.com.
SPANISH WINE WEEK OCT 4TH – OCT 10TH
If you would like to expand your knowledge on Spanish wine, or any other Countries, you can email myself firstname.lastname@example.org, and enquire about enrolling on our WSET wine courses. The Cork Wine School
Written By: Lorna O'Driscoll - Marketing O'Donovans Off Licence