ALL ABOARD THE SPAIN TRAIN?!
Today we have an all-Spanish selection -- from the volcanic island of Lanzarote to the hard-to-pronounce Getariako Txakolina in the Basque Country to the timeless reds of Rioja.
Los Bermejos Malvasía Volcánica Seco Lanzarote DO 2017
Country: SPAIN / Region: CANARY ISLANDS/ Appellation: LANZAROTE DO / Varietal(s): MALVASÍA VOLCÁNICA --- The Island of Lanzarote in the Canaries, just 125 km east of the western cape of Africa, is absolutely unique in terms of terroir and viticulture. A continuous 30-year volcanic eruption in the early 18th century blanketed the island in volcanic ash and lava. To grow grapes, farmers dig holes called hoyo, sometimes four feet deep, to reach organic matter that could nourish the vines. Stone walls are built around the hoyo to prevent damage to grape vines from easterly winds whipping off the Sahara and some farmers use camels to ride around the rocky vineyard terrain to collect grapes for harvest. Ignacio Valdera is one of those farmers and the owner and operator of Los Bermejos. His fruit, grown in the harsh conditions described above, is often supplemented by fruit purchased from other growers. The Malvasía Volcánica was fermented and aged in stainless steel tanks to retain fresh fruit flavors. It's brimming with all kinds of citrus fruit - Meyer lemon, tangerine, a touch of grapefruit zest. The palate boasts lovely minerality and the feeling of sea spray, naturally calling for something from the sea to match. From clean and simple oysters on the half-shell to more hearty moules frites or brandade (salt cod spread), this wine will flourish with them all!
Ameztoi "Rubentis" Rosé Getariako Txakolina DO 2017
Country: SPAIN/ Region: BASQUE COUNTRY/ Appellation: GETARIAKO TXAKOLINA DO / Varietal(s): HONDARRIBI BELTZA+HONDARRIBI ZURI --- Ignacio Ameztoi is the seventh-generation winemaker at Ameztoi, located in the beautiful coastal town of Getaria on the Bay of Biscay. Over the rolling sea-side hills, Ameztoi has over 50 acres of vines in the ground, some of which are pergola trained -- a technique used to promote good airflow in humid regions. The "Rubentis" is the racy, high-toned blend of the native white grape Hondarribi Zuri and its red counterpart, Hondarribi Beltza. The grapes are co-fermented for about three weeks in stainless steel tanks before being bottled and chilled to 32° F to preserve some of the residual carbonic acid. This production method gives txakolina its charmingly light effervescence and electric acidity. A beautiful pearlescent pink in the glass, Rubentis brings forth the ideas of cherry and just-ripe strawberry without being overtly fruity. Incredible wine that can only be traced back to this unique region in Spain. Go full Basque: pour alongside grilled shrimp, tuna conserva and perfectly crusty bread.
R. Lopez de Heredia Viña Cubillo Rioja DOCa Crianza 2009
Country: SPAIN/ Region: RIOJA / Appellation: RIOJA DOCa / Varietal(s): TEMPRANILLO+ GARNACHA+GRACIANO+MAZUELO --- One of the most storied wineries in Spain, R. Lopez de Heredia was birthed out of crisis. When the little fruit louse known as phylloxera began ravaging the vineyards of France in the late 1800s, French winemakers began looking to Rioja for quality grapes to turn into wine. Legend has it that Don Rafael López de Heredia y Landet, the founder of the winery and young oenology student at the time, carefully observed the decision-making of the French artisans. Don Rafael formally established his winery in 1877 in the town of Haro in the Rioja Alta subregion. The house style is defined by commitment to tradition. Blending four key grape varieties – tempranillo, garnacha, graciano and mazuelo – gives the wine a balance and complexity that some single-variety Riojas have trouble achieving. More impressive is their 84-acre underground cellar, where wines are aged until they are ready for release. While most wines in Rioja labeled "crianza" are released immediately after the minimum two-year aging period needed to gain this age designation, Heredia chooses to release their crianza after nine years of aging, with a minimum of three years in small American oak barrels. These wines are a truly singular expression of old-school Rioja winemaking with a precise vision. In the glass, Vina Cubillo opens up with a melange of stewed red and black berries and distinct earthy tones of sweet tobacco and mushroom-inflected umami. The extended aging in American oak barrels (all sourced from the Appalachian Mountains), gives the wine a slight herbaceous dill quality. We can't imagine a better wine to share with friends over grilled rack of lamb with roasted peppers and Manchego!