SPAIN: More on offer than just Rioja

Active Business centre, St Andrews Road South, BSE.

Neil Courtier, owner of Grape Sense wine tasting and education company, is celebrating 10 years in business this month.
Active Business centre, St Andrews Road South, BSE. Neil Courtier, owner of Grape Sense wine tasting and education company, is celebrating 10 years in business this month.

Spain is a source of both value and diversity. Modernisation and improved wine-making has opened up an endless choice of wine styles beyond Rioja and Cava.

Regional differences in climate and grape varieties provides aromatic white wines from the north west, full-bodied reds from the south east and the fortified wines from the south and much more.

On The Shelf

Torres – Viňa Esmeralda 2016 Catalunya, £8.50 Waitrose – Weighing-in at just 11.5% abv, a whistle-clean, vibrant, aromatic blend of Moscatel and Gewurztraminer. Fresh grapes and grapefruit combine, with a little spice in the background. Brilliant with lightly spiced fish curries and the-like.

As Caixas – Godello 2015 Martín Códax – Monterrei, £8.99 (£6.99 mix six) Majestic) – Aromas of citrus fruits, pear and ripe melon. On the palate it’s textural, with flavours of pineapple and lemon zest, propped-up with youthful acidity and minerality. Drink with salt cod or grilled sardines.

Taste the Difference – Barrihuelo – Rioja – Rosado 2015, £7 Sainsbury’s – A super rosé made from a blend of Tempranillo, Garnacha and Viura grapes. Dry, succulent, cherry-toned, with citrusy acidity and very good length. Versatile with tapas and salads.

Asda – Extra Special – Marques del Norte – Rioja Reserva 2013, £6.28 – Stunning value, classic Rioja, smooth and velvety, plummy, with cake-spice and vanilla to the fore.

Anda– Tempranillo, Syrah 2015 Andalucia, £7.99 Waitrose – Strawberry and plum scented, fleshy on the palate, moderate tannins and food-friendly acidity. Would match a chicken and chorizo casserole.

Morrisons – Signature– Somontano – Cabernet Sauvignon 2015 Somontano, £8 – Generously fruity - Morello cherry, blackcurrants, with an attractive rich texture in the mouth. Try with braised lamb.

Taste the Difference – Cepa Alegra– Rioja – Reserva 2010, £8.50 Sainsbury’s – Plum and redcurrants, with a touch of chocolatey richness, wood-smoke, vanilla and tea. Very satisfying. Tailor-made to accompany roast lamb.

Laderas del Tietar – Garnacha 2015 Gredos, £8.50 The Wine Society – From vines growing in the Gredos mountain range near Madrid, a superbly balanced Garnacha – medium-bodied, pure red and black-cherry flavours and a refreshing finish.

Vox Populi – Bobal 2014 Utiel-Requena, £9.99 (£8.99 mix six) Majestic – Powerful, full-bodied, brimming with forest fruit flavours and rich/ripe tannins. Great with smoky barbecued meats.

-- Neil is a freelance wine educator and writer. He runs wine courses and tutored tastings for groups and individuals, in Bury and Cambridge. More details: 01359 270318/grapesense1@aol.com/grapesense.com.

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