Look on a shelf just over 10 years ago and you would have struggled to see a Spanish or Portuguese wine other than from the most celebrated regions like Rioja and Port. Today we are spoiled for choice with a plethora of not only established and respected producers but also an incredible and exciting array of wines to explore from the countries best regions, varieties and producers.
Spain is home to more than a million acres of wine and sits behind only France and Italy in terms of production. We have become familiar with wines from Rioja and varieties like Albarinho and Garnacha which are now firmly planted in our wine drinking vernacular. But Spain also offers up varieties like Memcia and Goddello from its rugged northwest that are grabbing our attention and eliciting us to re-visit this diverse wine making country.
While Portugal is relatively new to the scene the groundwork that Spain has laid has seen the keen uptake and surge in interest from this beguiling country. Exploring Portugal and its somewhat unfamiliar but compelling range of varieties and styles has sparked the interest of many the intrepid wine lover including myself.
So, for this months mixed dozen we are going to take a road trip through Spain and Portugal exploring some of what these two regions have to offer.
We start in Spain and the delicious Abellio Albarinho, a mainstay here at prince with all its peachy, zippy goodness. Then we move east to Galicia which is home to the Mengoba Godello a plump, textural and delicious unoaked white from this emerging region. Still in the west we have the Adras Mencia, a grape which is capturing the hearts of wine lovers with its cherry-spiced and earthy flecked aromas & flavours. To Tempranillo country where we start with one of the classics: Rioja. Tempranillo based with Graciano and Grenache the Exopto Bozeto is an exercise in purity and freshness capturing all that is great about the new and the old in Spain's wine world. Further south and to the liccorella soils of Ribera del Duero enjoy the eminently drinkable Avaniel; a slightly firmer and taut Tempranillo then fleshy Rioja. And to finish our study in Tempranillo a jaunt to the sun-baked land of Toro and the full and rich 100% Tempranillo of Matsu with all its black cherry and broody liquorice fruits. To finish we head east to try the Lagado Moncoya a 100% Garnacha with a bit of grip and punch from the rugged Campo de Borga region west of Barcelano.
On to Portugal and just south of Albarinho country we start our tour with Mauros Antigos Vinhos Verde a crunchy citrusy, tropical blend that is punchy, bright and full of vibrant fruits. Now we zip down to the south coast to the Alentejo region and the ridiculous value Pe Tinto a sweetly fruited spicy red with an airy lift and crunch to its juicy fruits. Cabeco do Mocho follows with its plush blue fruits and pretty, lifted nose. It's a fantastic blend of Touriga and Jaen (Mencia) that is sure to delight and surprise.