This week, we’d like to talk to you all about Spain. Ever since the 70s, when Brits, bored of package holidays to Blackpool and ‘Jolly Boys Outings’ to Margate, started bothering the folk of Benidorm with yells of “more vino por favour,” Spanish wine has been much loved in the UK. Washing down food that tasted a bit “foreign,” with jugs of Rioja based sangria. Good times! However, the 70s are over, now we all love a good bit of Tapas and Spain have become renowned for more than just Rioja. Thus, we thought it would be nice to highlight a few indigenous Spanish grapes that you might not have heard of…
This grape isn’t particularly obscure, in fact it’s the second most important red grape in Spain after Tempranillo but you might not be used to seeing it as a single varietal (It’s often found in blends in Rioja). Garnacha has gone through a bit of a revolution over the last 20 years or so, from relative vineyard ignominy, it has become the bell of the ball. The incredibly old Garnacha vines in Priorat and Aragon (a wine region, not the King of Gondor) have delivered wines with fantastic fruit concentration, typically displaying notes of red forest fruits baking spices and charred wood with supple tannins.
Why not try…? LAS MORADAS 'SENDA' 2013
We know what you’re thinking; it’d be awesome to open a Samuel Beckett themed bar and name it Waiting for Godello. Well you can’t, it’s our idea, get your own 20th Century playwright’s bar! A few years ago, Rias Baixas, and Albariño were the region and grape names to drop to prove your wine aficionado credentials. These days, those names have become almost mainstream, and it's the tiny neighbouring region of Monterrei - and Albariño’s doppelganger Godello - that you need to be talking about to show off your esoteric knowledge. Like Albariño’s, Godello is crisp, fresh and so friendly to seafood it risks an injunction. Snap it up while it's still an undiscovered (and undervalued) gem.
Why not try…? ALMA DE BLANCO GODELLO 2016
Pronounced ‘men-thee-uh,’ you can normally find this plucky little red grape kicking about in Northwest Spain. It nearly went extinct until wine making legend Alvaro Palacios brought it back from the brink and made it the coolest cat in all of Bierzo. Mencía is renowned for having the aromatics of a well-made Pinot Noir but the intensity of Syrah. Displaying characters of sour cherry, red plum, bramble, liquorice and a mineral backbone, this wine is not the easiest find so when you do, you should probably buy a case.
Why not try…? ALMA DE TINTO MENCIA 2016