Monday, November 03, 2008

Drink for the Economy

I lived in Spain for 2 1/2 years and one of the things I loved about it was the simple way to eat and drink. For example, a Spanish tortilla (potato omelets), a green salad and a glass of $4-per-bottle red table wine was a typical meal at home. I loved being able to run down to the corner store and get at 500-peseta bottle of wine (that was about $3 at the time, pre-Euros) and know that it would be quite decent. Splurge for a $8 - $10 bottle - and it was a special occasion.

Apparently, I'm not the only one who recognized the value and quality of vintages from the Iberian Pennisula. “Spanish wine exports have doubled during the last four years, making its availability and price point more accommodating to consumers,” said Katrin Naelapaa, director of Wines from Spain. “With the large number of distinctive native Spanish varietals, most shoppers would be surprised to find how many high-quality Spanish wines are affordable even on a limited budget.”

I heartily agree. Here are some suggestions from Wines from Spain. I'd love to hear your feedback in the comments section, if you try them.

Mont-Ferrant Brut Rosé – Denomination of Origin (DO) Cava
An excellent partner to grilled seafood and fowl, this wine shows cherry, red currant and a hint of yeastiness in the nose. It is full and weighty with a hint of orange in the finish but firm and almost lemony. $18.

Abad Dom Bueno Godello 2006 – DO Bierzo
Best if consumed within the next few years, this wine has a very fresh and youthful nose with lemon, orange and slightly cooked green pear. The mouth is nicely balanced between stone and pear with cracked rock notes. $14.

Marqués de Riscal Rueda Verdejo 2006 – DO Rueda
The nose is bright, citrusy and refreshing, with lime zest, green pear, baked apple and wet chalk. The mouth is more of the same, along with some wet herbs and a stony note to finish. This wine pairs nicely with light, salty appetizers. $7

oriñón Reserva 2003 – DOC Rioja
A blend of 85 percent Tempranillo, five percent Garnacha, five percent Graciano and five percent Mazuelo, the nose shows some development with overheated aromas of fig, prune, some dust and dried leaves and sweet black cherry. The mouth starts out more generously with sweet cherry and then a dry middle, but sweet fruit returns with red and black cherry and some spiced red currant. $23

Juan Gil 2005 – DO Jumilla
This Monastrell wine has overripe aroma notes, as well as sweet cooked cherry, vanilla and warm clove. The mouth shows some of this heat and slightly overripe character but is also dry and firm with plenty of spice with a finish of red cherry juice and hints of red raspberry. $14

Solanes 2004 – DOC Priorat
With a dark cherry color, this Cariñena blend has an expansive aroma with fruit expressions and a creamy oak palate and sweet tannins. $30

Dry Sack 15 Years Solera – DO Jerez
An amber colored wine of intense aromas with hints of dried nuts. Full-bodied and balanced, with little acid and a sweet and long finish. This sherry can be served straight or with ice. $29

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