Category:Spanish wine

Wine of the week: Yellow + Blue Rose 2008

image Yellow + Blue makes some of the Wine Curmudgeon ?s favorite cheap wine. The malbec is in the $10 Hall of Fame, and the torrontes would be if I could find it in more stores. The third entry in the producer ?s line, a Spanish rose, is another terrific $10 wine.

The rose, like the other two wines, is made with organic grapes and comes in a 1-liter juice box. It lists for about $13, which works out to $10 a bottle. It's a dry wine, more cranberry than strawberry, as befits a Spanish rose. It also has a surprisingly long mineral finish, which you don't usually find with this style of wine. My only criticism is that it isn ?t quite up to the level of the malbec and torrontes, but that ?s no fault of this wine. It ?s because the malbec and torrontes are so well made. One caveat: Availability may be a problem. I ?m told that it ?s a special order in the Dallas area.

Drink this chilled on its own, or with any late summer or early fall dinner. It ?s also interesting enough to bring it out for roast chicken and roast turkey.

Wine of the week: El Coto de Rioja Rosado 2008

image It ?s summer. It ?s hot (above 100 in Dallas for about 10 days straight through the beginning of this week). So the Wine Curmudgeon doesn ?t want to hear any whining about how real men don ?t drink pink. Plus, there is a much welcome screw top.

The El Coto (about $12) is a step up from most Spanish roses. This, as regular visitors here know, is high praise given how much I respect these wines. The El Coto has a prettier color than most of the others, though it ?s just as dry and clean and mineral-like as any of my favorites. It ?s a blend of tempranillo and garnacha, and the latter may give it an edge that tempranillo-only roses don ?t have.

Drink this chilled whenever you want, whether it ?s this summer, this holiday weekend, at a barbecue, by your pool, in your air conditioned living room, or at a wine bar that is smart enough to sell it. It will pair with almost anything that isn ?t big red beef.

Coming tomorrow: More Fourth of July wine suggestions.

Wine of the week: Torres Vina Brava Rojo 2006

vina brava garnacha fr Miguel Torres is one of Spain ?s biggest producers, and its bull wine ? the Sangre de Toro with the little plastic bull ? is available almost everywhere wine is sold. So what is the Vina Brava wine, and why does Torres do it?

It ?s called a second label, which it sells in the U.S. as a private label to retailers who want something more than the bull wine and is various spinoffs. In this, the Vina Brava (about $10) has much to recommend it. It ?s a red blend of grenache and carignan, which means it has more heft, but less fruitiness, than grenache-only wines. And, like Spanish labels in general, it ?s made to go with food. Streak frites comes to mind, but it would also work with meat loaf, hamburgers and grilled mushrooms.

The drawback? Since it ?s a private label, availability is probably limited. But if you do see it, it ?s certainly worth buying.

Wine of the week: Campo Viejo Rioja Crianza 2005

Campo Viejo crianxa: Still a $10 value Spanish wine remains a fine value, despite the fluctuation of the dollar, and the Campo Viejo is an excellent example of why.

It ?s a red wine made with tempranillo from the Rijoa region of Spain. Crianza is the basic wine in the three tiers of Rioja. The middle level is reserva and the best is gran reserva; winemakers must follow specific guidelines for the wines to attain those levels.

So why the Campo Viejo? It has been $10 for as long as I can remember; it ?s widely available, from grocery stores to wine shops; and it ?s consistently made. (The label is owned by the very large Pernod Ricard group). The 2005 tastes more modern than I remember, which means more cherry fruit. But it ?s still Rioja, which means it ?s tart, a bit tannic (though soft tannins) and occupies that that in-between ground between red and white wine foods.

Drink this with everything from roast chicken to burgers to ? yes ? tapas and paella.

Wine of the week: Ipsum 2008

Ipsum_Rueda_Hermanos del Villar Cheap Spanish white wines are often a crapshoot. Quality varies considerably from vintage to vintage and even solid producers seem to pay less attention than they should when the wines get made.

Which is why the Wine Curmudgeon didn ?t expect much from the Ipsum (about $10), a blend of verdejo and viura from northern Spain. Which goes to show why one must always taste the wine before judging. Ipsum, from the respected Ole Imports and made by Hermanos del Villar, was much better than I expected it to be. It's fruit forward (mostly citrus), but not overwhelmingly so. It has lots and lots of Spanish minerality, probably from the limestone that the grapes grow in.

Highly recommended, and a candidate for the $10 Hall of Fame. Serve chilled with chicken and rice, paella or just about anything with saffron.

Wine review: Torre Oria Cava Brut Rosado NV

Torre Oria Cava Brut Rosado NV The Wine Curmudgeon has been known to get into spirited discussions with retailers about Spanish sparkling wine, or cava. I like Cristalino very much ? it ?s cheap, consistent and well made. Many retailers, on the other hand, don ?t get as excited about it. I tend to think that ?s because Cristalino is not only ubiquitous, but doesn ?t offer them much in the way of margins.

So when we have these discussions, the retailer usually offers me an alternative to Cristalino. Over the weekend, it was the Torre Oria rose (about $14) and I was impressed. Torre Oria is a well-regarded producer, and this is a better quality wine than the Cristalino, with more interest ? the fruitiness isn ?t quite as simple and there ?s more of a finish. Whether it ?s 75 percent better than Cristalino ($14-$8=$6, divided by $8) I ?ll leave up to you.

Serve this chilled before dinner or with chicken or seafood. I had it with grilled Cornish hen ? a fine pairing.

Wine review: Sangre de Toro 2006

sangre de toroSomewhere in my house, either stuffed in a drawer or buried in a box, are probably hundreds of the little plastic bulls that are attached to the neck of the bottle of the Sangre de Toro, a Spanish red blend. When I started doing this 20-some odd years ago, I drank a lot of what I called bull wine. It was $6 or $7 then, well made, and dependable.

I haven;t had Sangre de Toro in years. No reason to, really. I thought I knew what it tasted like, and I thought I had outgrown it. Which is a good reason to repeat the Wine Curmudgeon mantra: “Taste the wine before you judge it, dummy.”

So I bought a bottle for about $10, took it home, unscrewed the cap (a welcome change from the old days) and discovered that the wine has remained relevant. These days, it ?s made with Spanish versions of grenache and carignan. The former gives it fruitiness I don’t remember from before, while the latter adds body. It was fine on its own before dinner, and would also pair with simple red wine food — burgers, sausages, and the like.