Wines from Spain and Portugal
These wines bridge the gap between the Old World’s traditional style and the New World’s international, modern style. They have powerful reds, elegant reds, delicate whites and powerful whites. Spain has it all.
Portugal is the least understood of all the major wine-producing regions in Europe. Keep an eye on Portugal, they are going places.
Wines for this lesson include: From Spain – a Rioja (Crianza, Reserva, or Gran Reserva), a Rueda or white Rioja, a Rias Baixas, a Priorat, and a Jumilla or Yecla Monastrell. From Portugal – a red wine such as Douro, Bairrada, or Alentejo.
We did some specialized food accompaniment such as Sauted Red Onion and Fresh Orange Salad, Tapas plates of olives, grilled meats, nuts, cheeses, and fruits, and to top it off, the Minnesota version of Empanadas: Tater Tots! (Which, by the way, were the first thing to leave the table.)
The wines for this lesson included 4 reds and 2 whites.
2006 Marqués de Cácere Rioja Crianza, 85% Tempranillo and 15% Garnacha Tinta & Graciano ($17.99). This wine was lightly aromatic with hints of cherry, strawberry and leather. Medium tannins, medium acid, light body. This is Dave’s favorite wine to use for marinating Portobello mushrooms before cooking them up for my dinner when he has pork chops or some other meat dish. Interestingly, for drinkability it paired well with the marinated mushrooms we had bought at the store too.
2006 Marqués de Cácere White Rioja Satinella, mainly Viura with some Malvasia ($11.99). This wine was the color of pale straw, smelled sweet like pears and bit like grass. It was reminiscent of a Savignon Blanc in odor but in texture it was completely different. This wine is full bodied and smooooooth like butter. Mmmmm.
2007 Las Rocas Garnacha, 100% Garnacha (17.99). The only wine of the evening that had sediment in the bottle. Smelled of cranberry and licorice. Medium acid, medium tannins, med-full body, fairly smooth on the palate. The group reports that it pairs well with grilled meat.
2005 Hecula Yecla, 100% Monestrall ($15.49). This red wine smelled jammy – very ripe fruit. High acid, low tannins. Full, rich, dense body with a quick finish.
2007 Altano Douro, 70% Tinta Roriz (Tempranillo), 30% Touriga Franca ($11.29). Our only wine from Portugal for the evening. This red smelled of cassis (black currant) and licorice. High acid, medium-full body, rich tannins and a long finish.
Up next, we move to the New World: California here we come!