Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Stinky Good Spanish Reds and Refreshing Whites

You can start to laugh if you like but I'm telling you that Spanish Wines are HOT!!! The Whites are refreshing but also complex with their citrus/grassy nose and their stony/minerality finish. While the Reds are fruit driven with layers of earthiness and soft tannins. I'll break down the Grape Varietals and Flavors you should find in Spanish Wines. 90% of the Spanish Wines you will see in stores will consist of these 4 grapes.

Albarino- A high-quality Spanish white grape, mainly planted in Galicia The high demand for these wines has driven prices up, which is why Albarino is one of the most expensive Spanish wines, though it is also one of the best. Look for Albarino from Rias Baixas. Price Range: $12-$25
You should expect impressive fruit notes of apples, pears, white flowers with a bright acidity and a long tart finish. Great with Scallops!

Verdejo- The Verdejo grape is predominantly used for making fruity young aromatic wines. Which makes Verdejo my favorite summertime wine this year. I compare Verdejo to Sauv. Blanc and Albarino to an Unoaked Chardonnay.
From Verdejo you should get Aromas of Limes, Lemons, Lemon Grass, Honey & Stones. Flavors of Lemons, Apples, Limeade, Citrus, Stony Minerality. AWESOME!!!

Garnacha: In Spain, Grenache is known as Garnacha, where it is the single-most planted grape in the country. Grenache produces smooth, balanced wines with ripe cherry and plum flavors. It pairs well with hearty risotto and pasta with meat sauces.
Intense Cherry and Spice is the main aspect of wines composed of Garnacha. I tell people if you like Pinot Noir you will love Garnacha because they are both on the lighter style of reds. Garnacha has a bit more spice than PN but it makes it more complex than PN.

Tempranillo: The Tempranillo grape is the dominant grape varietal in Spain's Rioja wines. It produces a medium to full-bodied red wine with lower acidity and full fruit flavor characteristics. Tempranillo wines have characteristic flavors of plum, cherry, and strawberry often mixed with an earthy minerality.

Jon's Stinky Reds of the Week
I should probably clarify what I mean when I say "Stinky!" This is not a term than means there is something wrong or gross about the wine. Certain wines, usually from Spain & France, have a distinct nose, or smell to them that is different from your typical California or South America wines. French wines sometimes have a "barnyard" smell to them. These are aromas of Straw, Dried Leaves, Dirt, or even Manure. These smells come from the way the wine is made and the soil the grapes were grown. Remember "earthy" is not always a bad descriptor for wines!

Las Rocas de San Alejandro Garnacha 2007 ($11.99 Kroger) 90pts RP
This Garnacha is a special project of importer Eric Solomon, who discovered these ancient high altitude Grenache vineyards (70-100 years old), and brand named the wine Las Rocas.
Visual: Dark Ruby Red. Medium to Heavy Legs
Nose: Black Cherries, Mineral, Earthy, Spice
Palate: Cherries, Spices, Black Pepper, Black Raspberries, Earthy Stinky Oakyness?? (Tell me what you guys think)
This is one of the most balanced Spanish Reds I have had in a while. Bright Red Fruits but with a complex dirty eathyness for all under $15. Try a bottle today!

Bodega Luzon Jumilla 2007 ($8.99 Kroger) 90pts WS
"The 2007 Luzon is 65% Monastrell and 35% Syrah. Purple-colored, it exhibits a bouquet of spice box, violets, and blueberry. On the palate this smooth-textured wine offers generous savory fruit, good balance, and a pure finish." Wine Spectator
Wine Enthusiast gave this wine it's # Wine of 2008 Award and 90pts Rating. This is one of the best wines for the price that I have seen in a few years. This is what I got out of the wine
Visual: Ruby Red with Purple Hues. Medium-Long to Long Legs
Nose: Cherries, Spices, Earthy (Ground up leaves), Cooked Plums
Palate: Black Cherry, Blackberry, Tar (but pleasant), Spices Galore, Smooth Oaky Finish


psychsc said...

Really enjoyed the bottle of Phantom--big fruit, yummy. Thanks for the recommendation. I'll be back for more.

I also really like the Martin Codax "Ergo". Have you tried the Prima? It's absolutely delicious!

Jon O said...

I have had the Ergo but I have not had the Prima. Can't wait to try it. Thanks for the comments!