You’re not going to like what I’m about to tell you, but it has to be done. Yes, you can eat too much Serrano ham. I stuffed my face with the nutty, rich, fat-filled pork product that’s only now legally trickling its way onto our shores, and man is it good. Aged up to three years, God bless Monte Nevado for bringing so much of the stuff to yesterday’s Spanish wine and food event. And shame on me for being such a glutton with it. Oh the humanity…
Pig aside, yesterday I had the opportunity to sample numeous wines from all over Spain, where there are 23 legally-defined winemaking areas and four more generally used (but not legally outlined) regions. None of the wines reviewed below are available at retail in the U.S. yet (the event was, in part, designed for wineries to pitch their wares to importers), and prices noted are from the cellar (so figure a 100 to 250% markup if they do make it to a wine shop near you).
Quality is, as expected, all over the map, but one favorite stood out: the 2004 Bodegas Vallemayor Vina Cerradilla, a 95% tempranillo wine from Rioja, rich and earthy after 18 months in French oak, but balanced with some solid fruit character.
I also enjoyed a curious spirit from Bodegas Verum (not included in the table below), a 70-proof grappa-like spirit just called “Verum” that’s made with the full fruit of various varietals of grapes. I tried the gewurztraminer variety and found it an interesting product that landed somewhere between grappa and wine — not sweet, but not overwhelmingly alcoholic either. Very curious, and I’d love to see what happens with it here in general release.
Full ratings of 18 wines follow.
Spanish Wine Cellar 2009 Full Tasting Report
2006 Venta La Ossa La Mancha / $11.66 / B
2006 Bodegas 1102 Pinturas Crianza Rioja / $10.22 / B-
2004 David Moreno Vobiscum Rioja / $16.38 / A-
2003 Bodegas Fin de Siglo Ribaguda Cepas Viejas Reserva / $10.28 / A-
2004 Bodegas Fin de Siglo Ribaguda Cepas Viejas / N/A / B+
2005 Bodegas Frontaura Dominio de Valdelacasa Cosecha / $15.72 / B+
2007 Bodegas La Emperatriz Garnacha Old Vines / $16.38 / A-
2006 Bodegas La Emperatriz Terruno / $12.45 / B
2001 Bodegas Penafiel Miros de Ribera Reserva / $16.70 / B-
2004 Bodegas Vallemayor Vina Cerradilla / $11.33 / A
2005 Bodegas y Vinedos de Gomez Cruzado Rioja / $10.48 / B+
2005 Bodegas y Vinedos de Gomez Cruzado Honorable / $15.72 / B
2006 Bodegas Verum Gran Cuerva / $11.27 / B
2005 Casa Gran del Siurana Gran Cruor / $22.48 / B
2005 Casa Gran del Siurana Cruor / $10.90 / A-
2006 Cortijo Los Aguilares Tadeo / $18.86 / B
2007 Cortijo Los Aguilares Pinot Noir / $15.20 / B
2006 Matsu Bodga y Vinedos Ecologicos Matsu / $16.96 / A-