For me one of the most exciting countries when it comes to wine is Spain. Perhaps this won’t surprise anyone as I am a Spaniard myself, but after plenty of traveling through French and Italian wine regions there is something about Spain that still remains unique. Something undiscovered and somehow raw.
For me this sense of uniqueness is based largely on the fact that many wine regions of Spain are still developing at a commercial level. Many regions have only recently achieve DO status, but also many are just being recovered after years or decades of abandonment. Take for example Ribera Sacra, a mountainous region of Galicia around the the river Sil and its steep terraces. Wine has been made in the Ribera Sacra for more than 2000 years. Some of the terraces dating back to the Roman occupation. When talking to local winemakers like Pedro Guimaro, there are stories of their older relatives walking miles with baskets of grapes to be sold in the markets of towns in the flat valleys. Grapes were cultivated for their fruit of for the local wine consumption. Bottling lines are a relative modern thing around those mountains!
Because of this lack of commercial development, land in these type of regions remains largely affordable to young winemakers. After the economic crisis many ambitious youngsters had the opportunity to purchase plots of very old vines. In some areas, even with pre-phylloxera vines. Now regions like Ribera Sacra, Bierzo, Gredos Mountains, Canary Islands or Navarra are seeing the appearance of modern, balanced and attractive wines that have sprouted after the days of Robert Parker’s big wine trend. Spain is now a hotbed of great value, interesting and unique wines.
Lucky for us The Society stocks some of these wines from fantastic winemakers. The other night I had one of my favourites, Viña Zorzal 2014 Malayeto. A garnacha with a seductive nose and power, at the same time elegant and approachable. As I enjoyed the wine with some homemade pizzas I thought it would be good to start a topic on these regions of Spain. How familiar are other members with some of these places? Has anyone tried these wines or is Rioja still your go to Spanish wine? Is there any wines from these regions that has stood out for you? Any recommendations?
Here is my current favourite from Navarra:
And a little gem from the Gredos mountains:
In the past The Society has also had, Guimaro Mencia from Ribera Sacra and 7 Fuentes from Suertes del Marquez in Tenerife (Can we have this one back please???)