Monday, February 7, 2011

SPAIN 2011

In about a month, it will once again be time for the annual (hopefully, going forward twice yearly?) trip to Spain. A portion of the trip I will be tagging along with this NC resident's crew, with stops in Jerez, Rioja and Pais Vasco, which will feature a tour of one of my favorite ciders. Swate! (actually, sour, but for me that would be sweet!) Anyway, verbal gymnastics aside, the rest of the time I will be in Rioja for some further wine exploration, as well as outside Girona for a bit more of the same as well as some R&R. And, of course,there will be the big PVN (productores de vinos naturales) tasting in Barcelona, featuring Laureano Serres along with some of his Spanish, French and Italian colleagues. A lot to look forward to this March!

Apropos the upcoming viaje to España, let's take a look at two Spanish wines I enjoyed recently.

La Cigarrera Manzanilla Sanlucar de Barrameda

The freshness, vibrancy and immediacy of this young manzanilla exceeds that of any other I have yet to drink. Now I love manzanilla (the name given to fino sherry aged in Sanlucar), but something about this particular one is so appealing and gulpable. The fruit is very expressive, reminding me of the abundant nisperos (loquats - like tinier, not as fuzzy, tangier apricots) you see in the Andalusian markets. Clearly, these wines were bottled and shipped very fresh. Of course, the requisite slight almond nuttiness also shows on this wine's finish. A real treat that I'll be drinking lots of this year.

2000 Lopez de Heredia Viña Bosconia Reserva Rioja

Though it was initially a bit tight, this one opened up to show all of the succulent warm red fruit one could hope for in a Bosconia, with that distinctive minerality and elegance. I do not recall the average age of barrels used to age this wine, but I bet it is north of 5 years, which is older than those used at most other traditional producers in Rioja. This wine went spectacularly with grilled Spanish style, pimenton laced, garlicky chorizos on its first night open. On the second night, it complemented a vegetarian meal of sauteed cauliflower, parboiled carrots, salad, bread and cheese. On night three, the Bosconia was great with braised chicken.