The word from the wine experts (not us) is that the Spanish wine scene is "among the most vibrant, dynamic and creative in the world", so the ten of us we were in for a treat.
Mark had spent a week in the Basque region of Spain so we were treated to delicious Spanish food:
Starting with Pintxo ~ (Not tapas but Pintxo, the Basque people are very particular about this )
'Pintxo' is a 'Basque-ified' take on the Spanish word 'pincho', which itself comes from the verb 'pinchar', which is 'to pierce'. Pinchos are traditionally pierced with a cocktail stick, to attach it to the piece of bread that they invariably came attached to.
The first grape was Macabeo, we knew nothing of this grape.. so a little detail for you:
Synonyms: Maccebéo, Macabeu, Maccabeu, Viura
Wine Name: Macabeo, Viura, White Rioja
Background: This grape is widely grown in the Rioja region of Spain as well as the Cava producing areas south of Barcelona. It is a non aromatic, relatively neutral grape often used for blending but also used on its own in many Spanish white wines. It is low acid and goes with many savoury dishes.
The second was bought from Majestic, again light and perfect for summer. Liked the label too..
Deusa Nai means 'mother goddess' & is the name given to a goddess representing the fertility of the earth in Galician folklore. The Albarino grape is equally ingrained in the local culture, accounting for 90% of wine production in Galicia's Rias Baixas appellation.
Taste & aroma: Intensely floral bouquet, with citrus & stone fruit aromas. Flavours of apricot & lime.
The bottle recommends to have with octopus... so next time if you could rustle that up Mark, that would be good !
We were then treated to a tasty Spanish chicken dish with an abundance of rice..
Then onto the red wines, three Riojas
Rioja – this is Spain’s most famous red wine, made in the La Rioja region in the northeast part of the country, only about 200 mile south of France’s famous Bordeaux vineyards. Rioja wine is made from a blend of grape varieties, and they can also be white or rosé depending on how the wine is produced. Grapes used in Rioja wine include Tempranillo, Garnacha (Grenache), Tinta and Mazuelo.
Our wine was number three, very drinkable:
Palacio del Conde Gran Reserva 2005 (Laithwaites £7.99)Valencia DO
Smooth, complex, elegant Gran Reserva from Valencia, brimming with spicy strawberry and creamy oak. Winemaker Maria Angeles Camara combines Monastrell with Tempranillo for dark, juicy fruit flavour. Extensive barrel ageing provides a soft edge of vanilla. This fragrant, medium bodied red is in its element with duck or lamb, strong cheese, or tapas such as jamón Serrano.
Sadly I don't have any info about the other two, apart from the fact that one came from Marks & Spencer, which is a shame as they were both very good.
The overall opinion was that we know virtually nothing about Spanish wine, that we rarely think about buying it at the supermarket or wherever we are, we don't think about ordering when we are out for a meal....maybe we should as they appear to be very drinkable and good value for money.
Maybe another Spanish wine evening for us ???
Time to stick a cork in it "Adios"