One effect of the economic crisis has been a lowering of our family budget for purchasing wine. This means we are drinking a lot more 4-8 euro wines than in the past. Over the last few years I have not always been impressed with the crianza wines from the Rioja region that you generally see in Spanish supermarkets. These are wines that have at least 12 months of oak ageing followed by at least 12 months in the bottle before being sold. More often than not the fruit has been lacking and the flavours from the oak have stood out too much. After the second glass of wine you are all ready bored! Well, the 2005s that we have been drinking recently have in their majority been a pleasant surprise, being much more fruit forward with more subdued oak flavours. Conde de Valdemar and Cune are two wines we have enjoyed along with Sierra de Cantabria which to be honest is nearly always very good.
Spain makes quite a lot of young wines using the carbonic maceration method (well-known for producing the overhyped Beaujolais nouveau) which is more than often very good, especially in warmer weather when you are doing a barbecue in the garden. These wines which are very famous in the Rioja Alavesa region are made all over the country. They first appear in the shops in late November/early December and one that we have drunk a few bottles of all ready is Fariña Primero 2008 made by Bodegas Fariña in the Toro region. This area has become better known over the last few years for the full-bodied reds it produces using the grape known in the area as Tinta del Toro, better known to most people as Tempranillo. However, it is Tempranillo that has acclimatised to the warmer climate and lesser rainfall than say the Rioja region where it is also the principal grape variety. Well the Fariña Primero for me is one of the best they have produced in recent years. It is quite full-bodied for a young wine with a real intensity of fruit and that liquorice-like finish that often comes with carbonic maceration wines.
In future entries on this blog I will be mentioning other reasonably-priced wines that we enjoy, as well as other more expensive ones that we still drink now and then! I will also be writing about the unexplicably underrated fortified wines of the Jerez region better known to most as sherry. I have led hundreds of tours to Jerez, more often than not with people whose knowledge of sherry has been limited to the sweet dark drink of dubious quality that used to be served at their grandmother’s house at Christmas time. After a few hours in Jerez and two wineries later they are more often than not converts to the many different styles of sherry which go from the pale extremely dry to the dark unctuously sweet. There is something there for everyone. In the future I’ll be talking about how there is a style of sherry to match almost any kind of food and more often than not matches for foods which are problematic with most other wines.
Well, I think that’s enough for today. If anyone wants to comment on anything, then please get in touch.