Wednesday, July 11, 2007

WBW 35 - Spanish Value Wines

Michelle and Kevin at my wine education ( are the hosts of this edition of Wine Blog Wednesday and they've chosen a cracker of a theme - Spainish Value Wines (under $10 which Im going to translate to £10 because for the moment the exchange rate is in our favour - yay!!).

Im going to do two wines - one white and one red.

The White - Is from the D.O. of Getariako Txakolina, which if I hadnt looked it up I would have guessed was in Greece. Actually its on the Northern coast of Spain around the city of San Sebastian. According to my copy of the Penin Guide, there were some 220 hectares of vineyards divided amongst some 17 bodegas, producing about 1.4 million litres of wine in 2004. Less than 3% is exported, the remainder supporting the strong domestic market for wines.

Txomin Etxaniz is one of the biggest holders of vineyards in the D.O. with about 30 hectares. The white is a blend of two grapes - Hondorrabi zuri (a white grape) and hondorrabi beltza ( a red one). Until 2005 these were the only two permitted varieties, but it seems that now they are allowed to grow Riesling, Chardonnay and Gros Manseng (must be a favourite of the Basques). As far as I can tell this is just the two Hondorrabi's. On the nose it has a refreshingly zesty aroma, sharp green apples and a sweetish kind of nectarine flavour. It gives the impression that its going to be sweeter than it actually is. On the palate it has a spritz - not sure if thats from bottling under CO2 or a touch of secondary fermentation. Very clean, crisp and dry, with citrus flavours more dominant, but elements of green fleshed melon too. Its very moreish, but finishes quite sharply and cleanly. I reckon this would be fantastic with a nice seafood paella or even just a fruits de mer platter. About £8 from Moreno wines.

The Red - Is from the D.O.Ca of Priorat, in the hills above Barcalona. Cellar Cal Pla is based in the village of Porrera, lower down on the volcanic slopes. The fruit comes from vineyards with parcels of vines as old as 100 years, but the average age is about 50 years old. The wine is a blend of Garnacha, Carenina and a dash of Cabernet Sauvignon, barrel fermented and aged for at least a year in mostly french oak. Aparently the wines are unfiltered when bottled, which I find surprising because the wine is crystal clear - deep ruby red colour with damsons and winter spices on the nose. On the palate the fruit is more dominant, with currants and blackberries upfront and a touch of peppercorn and nutmeg on the finish. The finish is quite long and it ends a bit spicily, which is why I often serve this by the glass with our duck breast with honey brioche and pink peppercorn crust. Its a lovely match! OW Loeb are knocking this out for under a £10.

So thats my contribution for this month, great choice of topic.

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