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 April 2013 



 PDFKarl Laczko

Wines Region / Country Source Cost Comments
1. Freixenet Gran Carta Nevada Brut Cava (D.O.)
12%. Yeasty nose and a lot of initial froth. Good acidity at first, but the bubbles disappear fast and there's no concentration of fruit. Lacks any character and towards the end is a struggle to drink. Not popular at all.
2. Itsas Mendi 2011 Bizkaiko Txakolina (D.O.)
Basque Country
Carruthers & Kent
12.5%. Aromatic, floral nose with a tart but full flavour and a long finish. Herbaceous cool climate wine, good character.
3. Ochoa 2011 Viura Chardonnay
Richard Granger
12.5%. Rich, aromatic nose - a little sweet Moscatel coming through. Clean and fresh on the palate, if a little watery. Smooth mid-palate with a herbal bitterness and hot on the finish.
4. Ochoa 2011 Vino Dulce Moscatel
Richard Granger
12%. Sweet Orange and Lychee nose (Cointreau). Mouthfilling consistency, sweet on the palate but relatively clean and fresh, not cloying. A popular wine.
5. Vino Docetañidos 2011 Pago de Valdeátima Rosado, Cigales D.O.
Carruthers & Kent
13%. Strong red fruit nose and a salty aspect on the palate, a touch coarse, ending hot. There's some beetroot flavour. The nose over-promises, but "full of character for a Rose".
6. Marqués de Murrieta 2006 Rioja Reserva
La Rioja
The Wine Chambers
14%. Peppery and smoky on the nose with some liquorice. Youthful tannins on the palate with a long finish. At first it is all about the oak, but on sitting Toffee and caramel appear and the texture goes rich and warm. A lovely wine.
7. CVNE Imperial 2004 Rioja Reserva
La Rioja
14%. Cool and fresh with a minty aspect on the nose, fruit is lacking a little and vanilla is evident, oak is coming through maybe a little too much? Tannins still quite steely, although more melded than the Murrieta. "Old nose, old taste".
8. Montecastro 2004 Ribera Del Duero
Spanish Spirit
14%. Roasted notes in the nose, a complex but not particularly married wine, too much going on, "hot" with strong acidity (paralysing the palate). Heading to a Port style this is way too young, possibly by 5 years.
9. Marqués de Murrieta Ygay 1994 Rioja Reserva
La Rioja
12.5%. An elegant, refined and subtle nose, slightly spicy - everything the last wine wasn't with clean acidity and mature tannins. The nose changes in the glass, going truffley. It may have lost some of its bloom and dries a little from back to front (?) but this is something special.
10. Torres 2003 Mas La Plana, Penedès D.O.
14%. Tannic and still quite fresh, some leather and polish on the nose and a little charcoal. Savoury, chewy, meaty with an "old" taste, maybe a little stewed. Some doubt about where it is going to go but a pleasant wine with characteristics of it's younger siblings previously tasted.

North East Spain Tasting notes and Spanish Regions Map Vinexpo 2013 Press Release    

Spain is a large and diverse country, the third largest wine producing nation behind France and Italy with 35 million hl (4.66 Billion bottles) although it has the largest global vineyard at just over 1 million hectares (nearly 14%) due, in part, to the very low yields and wide spacing of the old vines planted on dry, infertile soil.  

The country has an abundance of native grape varieties, over 400, though 80% of the country's wine production is from 20 grapes—including Tempranillo, Albariño, Garnacha, Palomino, Airen, Maccabeo, Parellada, Xarel·lo, Cariñena and Monastrell.

As of 2012, Spain has over 130 identifiable wine regions under some form of geographical classification;

  • 14 Vino de Pago (VP, previously also referred to as Denominación de Pago or DO Pago) - Individual single-estates with an international reputation. After the 2009 EU reforms vintage these will probably be known as VPP (Vino de Pago Protegida).
  • 2 Denominación de Origen Calificada (DOCa/DOQ - Denominació d'Origen Qualificada in Catalan): quality wine regions with a track record of excellence. From 2009 these can be DOPCa/DOPQ - Denominación de Origen Protegida y Calificada/Qualificada.
  • 69 Denominación de Origen (DO - Denominació d'Origen in Catalan) - mainstream quality-wine regions. From 2009 these will be DOP - Denominación de Origen Protegida.
  • 7 Vino de Calidad Producido en Región Determinada (VCPRD) - less stringent regulation with specific geographical origin, aka VCIG - Vinos de Calidad con Indicacion Geografica
  • 41 Vinos de la Tierra (VdlT) - "country wine" areas which do not have EU QWPSR status but which may use a regional name. From 2009 these will become IGP - Indicación Geográfica Protegida.
  • Vino de Mesa - Table wine, production of which has been in decline in recent years. This is being replaced in part with Viñedos de España which, under the 2009 EU regulations, may state a vintage date and grape variety on the label.

There are at least seven distinct geographical areas to consider;  

  • The northern and north-western portion of Atlantic Coast Spain can be cool to cold, wet, and green—thus its name, España Verde – Green Spain. This includes Galicia, Asturia, Cantabria and the Basque Country.
  • North Central Spain hosts extremely elevated but easily workable vineyards along and beyond the banks of the Duero River, primarily Castilla-León.
  • The Ebro River Valley is sheltered by the Sierra de Cantábria mountains to the North and stretch from La Rioja and Navarra into Arragon.
  • The Meseta is the “Tabletop”, the large, arid Iberian plateau centred on Madrid and covering Castilla–La Mancha and Extremadura. Almost two-thirds of all Spain’s vineyards are on these arid, lifted plains.
  • The Mediterranean Coast covers Catalonia in the North and Valencia in the South, where a warm, humid climate is balanced by high-altitude vineyards.
  • Andalucía in the South, with temperatures easily surpassing 40°C (100°F) in the summer, is an area ideal for fortified and dessert wines as Ken showed us last year.
  • The Islands of the Canaries in the Atlantic and the Balearics in the Mediterranean, both moderate climates.

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