This week I had the fortune to try some great Spanish wines. These wines, for the most part, really offer a lot to the consumer for the money.
Bodegas Lan Reserva 2004 Rijoa $23.95
Love it! This wine is from a region called Rioja.
Rioja is probably the most famous wine region in Spain (although other regions are now making their mark).
This wine is silky smooth (kind of how the Zohan likes his hair) with flavours of black plum, violet, licorice and a hint of smoke (this is actually just another way of saying that a wine has been aged in wood). This Lan Reserva has a really nice finish on top of all the other nice things going on. A great buy...actually, a must buy! This wine made #52 on Wine Spectator's Top 100 Wines (if you pay attention to these types of rating systems). This wine is mostly made of a grape variety called Tempranillo (a native grape of Spain, one that makes full-bodied wines). What does the word Reserva mean on a wine bottle? It depends where it's from. In some countries, it really has no "legal" meaning but for Spanish wines, it means that the wine has been aged for a minimum period of time (by law). The main age labels are Crianza, Reserva and Gran Reserva. These are just labeling terms given to wines to designate how much aging in wood and bottle they have received. Wines with a "Gran Reserva" label have been aged the longest before being released.
LCBO Vintages #42929
Pazo Pondal Leira Albarino 2007 $18.95
This wine was recommended to me by a product consultant at the local wine store (LCBO for us in Ontario) and I must say, I'm very happy that he did. I wanted to bring something to a small gathering that was unusual and that would show the diversity of the Spanish wine industry. This wine is from a region in northwest Spain called Rias Biaxas. The Albarino grape can thrive in this part of the country where the climate is cooler. This prevents the grapes from ripening too much and becoming flabby. They maintain their crispness.
This wine has some nice acidity that makes your mouth water. Just don't drool on the linens. It was very crisp and had a flavours of citrus, pear and maybe some other stone fruit like peach. The finish was quite long so I was enjoying it well after it left my mouth (if you're still tasting the wine for a period of time after you've swallowed it, then it's a sign of a good-quality wine). I didn't have anything to eat with this wine since I drank it as an aperitif (does bread count?). I think this wine would go well with scallops or calamari. Serve it chilled but not too cold or you'll lose the aromas and flavours. I kept this one in the fridge all day at the office but took it out over an hour before drinking.
LCBO Vintages #115816