We are now well into January and here in Seville we have been having one of the wettest periods for over 50 years. It even snowed here yesterday for the first time since 1954! Unfortunately, the snow didn’t stick. Below is a photo of yours truly in the garden with the snow falling.

Christmas in Spain finishes on 6 January, Epiphany or Kings, when presents are given. As this was just 5 days ago, I thought it would be a good idea to write about some of the wines that we drank over the festive period. If we spend the holidays in Spain, we go to my parents-in-laws’ house for Christmas and New Year. As they provide the food, my wife and I provide the wine with the odd bottle supplied by my brother-in-law.
At the start of the major meals we normally eat a lot of fine prawns and crab which go very well with cava, champagne and non-oaked whites. We drank a number of champagnes with Roederer NV standing out as the best. This is a very elegant wine with a rich nose, which is nutty, fruity and with toasted notes. It has great depth on the palate for a non-vintage champagne and is very long on the finish. Among the dry whites that we tasted the Terras Gauda 2008 (D.O. Rias Baixas) was probably the favourite. The wine is around 70% Albariño together with Loureiro and Caiño. They are all native grapes of the region of Galicia with albariño being the best known. The wine has a great nose of apple, peach and citric fruit together with floral notes and dried herbs. On the palate it’s fresh with good acidity with all the aromas of the nose and some mineral notes on the finish.
The reds accompanied dishes such as roast lamb, Iberian pork loin and stuffed squid. The squid stuffing and the accompanying sauce lend themselves more to reds than to whites. Here are the wines that stood out for me:

Pintia 2004 (D.O. Toro) – This is a big bold wine made from 100% Tempranillo or Tinto del Toro as it is known in the area. The nose shows very ripe fruit (plums and blackberries) together with mineral and balsamic notes. Really full-bodied on the palate with marked tannins although not harsh. The wine improved in the glass and would probably have benefited from being decanted an hour or so before drinking. This will still be drinking well in 5 or 6 years time or even longer.

Pago de los Capellanes Reserva 2004 (D.O. Ribera del Duero) – The wine is 90% Tempranillo or Tinto Fino and10% Cabernet Sauvignon. It has a wonderful nose of blackberries and blackcurrants with really fine toasted aromas. Medium-bodied on the palate with great balance; the oak, tannins and fruit all well-integrated.

Finca Sandoval 2006 (D.O. Manchuela) – This wine is a coupage of Syrah, Monastrell (Mouvedre) and Bobal. On the nose aromas of ripe black fruit preserved in alcohol, banana (yes!), coffee-like toasted aromas, as well as some mineral and floral notes. On the palate it’s a potent, full-bodied but well-rounded wine with a very long finish

Roda I 2005 (D.O.C. Rioja) – This was one of my favourite wines in the Roda tasting that I wrote about in July of last year. This wine still needs a few more years before it reaches its peak but it is still very good at the moment, especially after a bit of aeration. On the nose fine aromas of ripe plums, chocolate and spice with toasted and lactic notes. On the palate it is medium-bodied with good acidity and lots of fruit. The tannins are already well-integrated and the wine has a long elegant finish.

Well, I am looking forward to an eventful 2010 with among other things plenty of fine wine, like the ones described above. Work wise things could not be better with lots of bookings for tours already. Whoever may read this blog, I hope that this year is a fulfilling one with lots of happy and worthwhile experiences.