Wine & Tapas ’08, the 15th annual Great Match Spanish wine tasting event, showcased more than 250 Spanish wines, representing a large chunk of Spain’s 67 denominations (DO). The event was extremely well-organized, and I am already looking forward to next year’s Great Match. Great Match wine tastings are held yearly to give wine professionals and the press the chance to preview the latest wines from Spain.
As you can imagine, there was no way I could sample all of the 250 Spanish wines that were featured at the tasting. I narrowed my selection to about 100 wines which I had heard/read about or which had been recommended to me by other wine professionals. Even with my significantly narrowed selection, however, it took me five hours before I could finish tasting all 100 wines and leave for another wine tasting event (the Moet & Chandon tasting at the all-new Trump International Hotel & Tower in Las Vegas). Of course, I did not spend all five hours tasting wine; I also spent some time speaking with the winemakers and representatives of Spanish wine companies.
Wine Reviews and Wine Tasting Notes: My Top 26 Spanish Wines
I cannot possibly write extensive wine reviews of all the wines I tasted at the Spanish wine tasting; that would take days to accomplish. You are welcome to contact me, however, if you want to know about a particular Spanish wine that was presented at the tasting as I did make extensive wine tasting notes about the wines I sampled.
In this post, I have categorized the wines into wine types and/or wine styles. The wines below are my personal favorites, and they are listed in NO PARTICULAR ORDER. The following are wines that I plan to buy for my personal consumption and wines that I would recommend to my clients. There is also a section called “Spanish Wines with Funky Aromas,” under which are listed wines with different or unique aromas.
Note: The wine prices indicated below refer to the manufacturer’s suggested retail price (MSRP) provided by the Great Match organizers.
- Mont Ferrant Blanes Nature 2003, DO Cava, Wine Price: $19.99
(Drink Albariño wines young; they lose their appeal through time; 2-3 years at most)
- Terra Firme 2007, DO Rías Baixas, 100% Albariño, Wine Price: $55.00
- Albariño Santiago Roma 2006, DO Rías Baixas, 100% Albariño, Wine Price: $55.00
Wine tasting notes: Unique style; handpicked grapes are cryo-frozen to delay fermentation process. Malolactic fermentation cut at 70% via temp. control; aged 3 months on its lees; fermentation process is finished once bottled; no oak.
- Paco y Lola 2007, DO Rías Baixas, 100% Albariño, Wine Price: $55.00
Wine tasting notes: Crisp and well-rounded, this is the most refreshing Albariño I’ve ever had. Only 30% of the best harvested grapes are used to make this wine. It has plenty of floral aromas and good acidity. No oak. Can’t wait to have this wine again; I’ll have it with some Asian cuisine. Perhaps I’ll sip it plain while I’m relaxing on my patio.
- Gran Feudo Rosado 2007, Bodegas Julian Chivite, DO Navarra, Grenache, Wine Price: $19.00
- Montecastro y La Planeta 2002, DO Ribera del Duero, 100% Tinto Fino (local Tempranillo), Wine Price: $55.00
- Pasanau Finca La Planeta 2002, DOCa Priorat, 80% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Grenache, Wine Price: $60.00
- Finca Antigua Crianza 2004, DO La Mancha, Tempranillo Blend, Wine Price: $15.00
- Mascun 2005, Bodegas Osca, DO Somontano, 100% Syrah, Wine Price: $25.00
- Matamangos 2003, Agricolas Santa Rosa, DO Almansa, Blend of Grenache/Monastrell, Wine Price: $29.00
- Fra Guerau 2003, DO Montsant, Grenache/Syrah, Wine Price: $15.00
- Rento 2003, Grupo Matarromera, DO Ribera del Duero, Tinto Fino (local Tempranillo), Wine Price: $75.00
- Val de los Frailes 2003, DO Cigales, Fino (local Tempranillo), Wine Price: $70.00
- Campo Viejo Reserva 2005, Juan Alcorta, DO Rioja, 75% Tempranillo, 15% Graciano, 10% Mazuelo (Carignan), Wine Price: $12.99
- Ysios 2001, DO Rioja, Tempranillo, Wine Price: $29.99
- Navarro Lopez Old Vines Crianza 2002, DO Valdepeñas, Tempranillo, Wine Price: $12.99
- Rentas de Fincas 2003, DO Rioja, Tempranillo, Wine Price: $14.00
- Earth 2.0 2003, DO Navarra, 50% Temp, 50% Merlot, Wine Price: $21.00
- Seleccion Especial 2005, Jorge Ordonez, DO Malaga (Muscatel), Wine Price: $20.00
- Don PX Gran Reserva 1979, Bodegas Toro Albala, DO Montilla-Moriles, Pedro Ximenez, Wine Price: $60.00
- Sandeman Character Medium Dry Amontillado, DO Jerez-Xeres-Sherry, Palomino Fino and a hint of Pedro Ximenez, Wine Price: $19.00
- Lustau Peninsula Palo Cortado, Emilio Lustau, DO Jerez-Xeres-Sherry, Palomino Fino, Wine Price: $21.00
- Sandeman Royal Esmeralda Amontillado VOS Sherry, DO Jerez-Xeres-Sherry, Palomino, Wine Price: $22.00
- Domecq Venerable Vintage 30 years, DO Jerez-Xeres-Sherry, Pedro Ximenez, Wine Price: $45.00
Spanish Wines with Funky Aromas:
- Protos Verdejo 2007 (white wine), DO Rueda, Wine Price: $12.00
Wine tasting notes: This wine has not only the expected floral aromas but also some funky, armpit-like aromas, making this wine my funky pick of the Great Match wine tasting.
- Don Olegario Albarino 2005 (white wine), DO Rías Baixas, Wine Price: $22.00
Wine tasting notes: This wine has chimney-like taste / aromas all over it that are quite similar to what you will find in a Haut-Brion Blanc even though the wine characteristics are completely different; worth the experience.
Are you thinking of building up your wine collection? Perhaps, you have no wine collection to speak of and are thinking of starting one. Why not stock up your wine cellar with Spanish red wines? Most Spanish red wines, especially sherry, age very well. I recommend that you slowly start stocking up on a few cases of Spanish wines before they become more popular, hence, more expensive.