I was asked recently to attend the ‘Wines from Spain’ Trade fair as a representative of Mid Week Wines a review site run by Brian Elliott, wine taster, judge and writer based in Scotland.
As anybody who has read my site knows I love Spanish wines, in fact I love most things Spanish, so when asked to do this tasting I jumped at the chance.
The event was held in Tobacco Dock, Wapping , London. This venue as the name implies was built-in the early 19th Century as a secure bonded warehouse for the receipt and storage of Tobacco from the new world. It was relaunched in 2012 as an events venue.
After arriving I made my way to a self pour tasting room called the ‘New Spanish Benchmarks’ with a selection of varieties and styles that make up the next generation of Spanish wines and the new ‘face’ of Spain.
When I entered there was only a handful of tasters in the room with around 45 wines from the ‘Spanish Benchmarks ‘ and another 60 or so from ‘Indie & On-trade star buys’. Feeling a little self conscious as there was amongst others Steven Spurrier ( British wine expert & one of the most influential wine commentators in the world) and Sarah Jane Evans MW & Journalist busy tasting away, I did feel a little surreal tasting next to these experts. Adding to my anxiety you could hear a pin drop and I was praying I didn’t drop a glass or even worse knock over a bottle. Anyway as soon as I tasted the first wine my inhibitions drifted away and I was lost in an array of fabulous wines in which I will highlight a few later.
Next up was food and we were treated to a lunch menu especially created by Michelin Star chef Nacho Manzano in the ‘Iberica’s Kitchen’ room. There was a dish called Fabada which was a rich Bean stew with Chorizo, Morcilla (spanish black pudding) & ham also accompanied by some Pata Negra Spanish Ham, spicy Chorizo slices and cheese.
There was also a free bar which had a lovely selection of wines in which I chose a Vina Ardanza Rioja Reserva 2007 to accompany the delicious food.
Suitably refreshed and fed I made my way to the the main Tasting hall in which one of my briefs was to taste Cava’s made with Champagne grapes either on their own or mixed in with the traditional Macabeo, Parellada & Xarel-lo. Again the selection was fantastic and I will pick out a few of note further down.
To say I was like a kid in a sweet shop was an understatement and spent the rest of the afternoon sampling what I could meeting some really amiable and interesting winemakers along the way.
Below I have set out a few of my favourite wines, this is only a brief selection as there were too many to list….
Spanish Benchmarks (The new face of Spain)
Inspiracion Valdemar Alto Cantabria Tempranillo Blanco 2015
£15.99 Abv 13.5%
100% Tempranillo Blanco
Light Golden colour with a slight greenish tinge.
Aromas of tropical fruits, peaches & apricots
Taste- Full bodied, this had a real nice creaminess about it, balanced acidity and fresh bright tropical fruits again with a long finish.
** As a side note, I visited the Campo Viejo stand and they were promoting their new Tempranillo Blanco to go on sale in Tesco and another Supermarket (can’t remember which one) I thought it was very good especially at around £8-£9
86 % Viura 14% Tempranillo Blanco
Vinaredo Godello 2015
£9.99 Abv 13%
Bright Straw like colour
Aromas of apples, pears and floral
Taste- Full and rounded, bright white fruits, creamy with a hint of a floral aftertaste.
** I’m a big fan of Godello, one of my favourite Spanish white grapes.
Godelia Barrel aged Mencia 2011 (Bodegas Godelia)
£15.50 Abv 14.5%
This was really good, I’ve also tried their Godello (with 20% Dona Blanca) which was also excellent. Big fan of Godelia.
Aromas of rich berry fruits, smokey.
Taste – good depth, plummy, medium tannins, chocolate, tobacco, smokey and toasty.
30 Copelos 2013 (Bodegas Legar do Merens)
£14.64 Abv 13%
40% Souson 30% Caino, 20%Ferron, 10% garnacha Tinta
Not entirely sure how easy to get in UK, but I thought this was Stunning.
Intense ruby colour, nose full of blackcurrants
Taste – very ripe dark fruits, light subtle tannins, well rounded, some complexity, long finish.
Main Tasting Hall (Cava’s)
Gran Claustro Cava 2011, Perelada
42% Cardonnay, 42% Pinot Noir, 6% Xare-lo, 5% Macabeo & Parrellada
Fairly muted nose of apple pie & aniseed
Steady stream of fine bubbles
Brut Nature so very dry, medium bodied, tasted of crisp green apples, slightly bready, slightly creamy with a lingering finish.
For the price this was a pretty decent cava and one I would buy.
**They told me a great story about President Eisenhower visiting Spain in 1959 and asking them to produce a wine to commemorate the visit, this was the result.
Anna de Codorniu Rose NV
£10.99 Abv 12%
Chardonnay, Pinot Noir
Light Salmon Colour, Nose of candied cherries.
Very fizzy, large bubbles, little artificial tasting, sweet.
Reina Maria Cristina Blanc de Noirs Reserva 2013
£16.50 Abv 11.5%
100% Pinot Noir
This was excellent and well worth the money, pale in colour, light and soft mousse. Nose of crisp green apples & almonds.
Taste- bit of minerality, citrus fruits, creamy, nutty, not to fizzy. A very nice Cava.
Jaume Codornui Brut 2011
£25 Abv 11.5%
Chardonnay, Pinot Noir & Xarel-lo
Another very good even classy Cava.
Small steady stream of lively bubbles, lemony fruits, creamy, nutty, biscuity. Tasted fresh with honey and flowers lurking in the background.
Enjoyed this a lot.
Argent Reserva Brut 2009
100% Chardonnay Abv 12%
**By far the best Cava I tasted all day but at a price, stood out head and shoulders above all.
Darkish in colour, restrained soft fizz, elegant, full of rich tropical peaches and apricots, some crisp green apples,medium acidity, toasty with a nutty edge, buttery and a finish that lasted a week. Quality 👍👍👍
Juve y Camps – Pinot Noir Brut Rose 2012
£13.99 Abv 12%
One of the better Rose’s tasted, heavy nose of strawberries and cherries, medium bubbles.
Tasting dry, strawberry dominant but not too sweet, herbaceous, nice lasting finish.
Excellent, great value for money.
Juve y Camps Reserva de la Familia Brut Nature Gran Reserva 2011
£19.99 Abv 12%
Chardonnay, Macabeo, Parellada. Xarel-lo
Another brilliant Cava, highly recommended by Decanter magazine and I can see why.
Lovely straw colour with aromas of toffee apples, stewed pears and stone fruits.
Taste – a little savoury with, brioche, peach, pears and a little honey. Fine bubbles not over fizzy.
Cava Jaume Serra Gran Reserva Chardonnay 2011
100% Chardonnay Abv 12%
Another excellent Cava
Steady stream soft bubbles.
Dry, bright and fresh, Pears & cream, almondy and slightly smokey. Lasting finish.
Big thumbs up !
Cava Jaume Serra Rosado Brut
Pinot Noir, Trepat Abv 11.5%
Vibrant red in colour, lively bubbles, dry, mouthful of strawberries and forest fruits, not overly sweet.
Again pretty good
Subirat Parent Brut Reserva 2011
Sorry no picture
100 % Subirat Parent Abv 11.5%
Never heard of the grape but I loved the Cava.
Very unusual perfumed aroma of freshly cut flowers, medium fizz and a softness. Slightly tart but in a good way
Unlike any other Cava I tasted, not to everyone’s taste but different enough to be noticed.