TASTING THE WORLD IN MORE THAN 700 WINES (3)
Three days long, the small city of Waddinxveen was the Dutch wine capital. More than 1100 visitors during the WORLD WINE DAYS… More than 100 wine producers from all over the world with more than 700 wines for tasting. Even 3 whole days wouldn’t be enough to taste all the wines presented.
A FEW COMMENTS (3)… SPANISH WINES
AZUL Y GARANZA BODEGAS (I was glad to meet at least Dani Sánchez Nogue. I saw him and María Barrena (both oenologists of this company) many times in different events but never found the time to meet, greet and taste their wines. Azul y Garanza is mostly known for their Navarra wines, but this is going to change. Since a few years, they are also active in the Catalan Montsant. Azul y Garanza works fully organic. We started with the Catalan ‘roebuck’ (cabirol), in white and red: very fresh, juicy and tasty Cabirol garnatxa blanca-macabeu Montsant DO 2010 and fresh, pure, fruity, tense and mineral Cabirol garnatxa-tempranillo Montsant DO 2009… Both wines offer outstanding value, pleasure and gastronomic potential for under 10.00 (yes, ten!!!) Euro, consumer price in the Dutch special wine shops! From Navarra, two wines in the same price category as above: Rosa de Azul y Garanza Rosado Navarra DO 2010 (fresh, pure, fruity tempranillo and garnatxa, mineral, juicy, with quite a long finish, very gastronomic) and Abril de Azul y Garanza Tinto Navarra DO 2010 (lovely wine, fruity tempranillo, easy drinking but still serious and complex enough for good meals thanks to the addition of some cabernet sauvignon, highly drinkable, delicious and pure). We finished with the Seis de Azul y Garanza Tinto Navarra DO 2008, a very well made red wine from merlot with 10% cabernet sauvignon, fruity (black berries), generous and juicy, with a medium full and elegant structure, very well integrated oak, soft tannins and a fantastic mineral finish. I loved it as a great European wine, but I am still convinced that Spain should use their own varieties instead of international ones. However, the price of this wine (about 15-16.00 Euro in the Dutch wine special shop) makes it absolutely worth to taste. And no one will remember what I wrote about not being really a ‘Spanish’ type wine… It’s just a great wine for a fantastic price.)
SITIOS DE BODEGA (when I have the chance to say hello to such an extremely charming, intelligent, kind and joyful young lady, I just simply have to go and greet her, even if I tasted her wines in Spring 2010 at the Coenecoop tasting in Utrecht… (read HERE). But this cute young lady did surprise me with a … sweet wine (50 g/l residual sugar), a Menade sauvignon blanc Dulce Rueda DO 2010! Very typical sauvignon blanc nose, medium body, very tasty, fresh and juicy, not sticky at all, quite gastronomic wine. It could get better in the future if the finish is a little bit longer. Warmly recommended.)
BODEGAS ARANLÉON (Ana Isabel Alcantarilla Pérez welcomed me on her stand. Bodegas Aranléon is a relatively young bodega, started in 2000. They work organic (bio) and the wines are certified since the vintage 2007. The vineyards are located on sunny slopes at 750-770 meters above sea level. The traditional vineyards with typical local grapes like bobal, monastrell, tempranillo and macabeo receive no irrigation (secano). However they also have some irrigated new vineyards with international varieties. Ana Isabel is a dynamic, enthusiastic and charismatic lady who seems to share with me the same passion for good wine and food. We could have chat hours about it… We started with Ahora Aranléon DO Utiel-Requena 2009 (40% bobal, 40% tempranillo and 20% cabernet sauvignon). Appealing cherry red colour, very floral (= bobal) and fruity (= tempranillo) nose with a tiny herbaceous hint (= cabernet) on the background, all well packed by the slightly toasted oak. Fresh and light on the palate, medium body, very fruity and easy drinking. The second wine was the Aranléon Blés Crianza Valencia DO 2008: Ana Isabel tried to explain to me what ‘Blés’ was all about, but it didn’t work… She advised me to look for it on Google… it didn’t help much more than meaning ‘wick’, a candle twist cord… No idea what could be the link with the wine… Who knows may send me a message (see comment right under). However, back to the wine: the base of the wine is monastrell, but there seem to be tempranillo and cabernet sauvignon in it, according to Ana Isabel. Very appealing cherry red colour, quite aromatic, much more on secondary than on primary scents, very balsamic with some cacao and sun dried red berries; full, generous, round and fat, with soft tannins, a good freshness and lots of juice. The next wine was Aranléon Solo Utiel-Requena DO 2007: it should be a blend of tempranillo, bobal and syrah if I understood well, a very Mediterranean blend. Very appealing mixing ruby red and Mediterranean blue… Fantastic nose, loads of sun ripe fruits, wild aromatic herbs (garrigas? Mediterranean scrublands), spices, cacao and black pepper. On the palate, the oak tones are well integrated but still very present (wait a few years more?), however, the tannins are ripe and soft. Good freshness, good structure, a wine with a nice ageing potential. A typical wine for roasted game birds, but any good grilled, baked or roasted red meat will do it as well. Good wine! The last wine was El Árbol, Utiel-Requena DO 2007: this is a more complex blend and ditto wine, bobal, tempranillo, cabernet sauvignon, merlot and syrah joined their forces. The colour is deep and intense dark red. The nose is fabulous for who likes ‘wild’ Mediterranean style wines, I certainly do… Loads of sun ripe red fruit, spices, wild aromatic herbs (garrigas, scrublands) and some retro-olfactory mineral tones. On the palate, a great abundance of ripe fruit, spices, aromatic herbs, medium toasted oak, a great structure, round, full and sensually elegant, with a long finish… I really LOVE this type of wine! Good ageing potential. Gastronomically meant for big (venison/red meat) slow cooking roasts… And the price? In the Dutch special wine shops you would pay about 21.5-22.5 Euro. Warmly recommended!)
BODEGAS DE SAN MARCOS (after the previous wine, I was not expecting so much from this visit. Ribera del Guadiana is an Eldorado for easy drinking and tasty wines with an incredible value/pleasure ratio. The 3 wines I tasted were made from organic grown grapes, and cost only 5 to 6 Euro in the Netherlands! Cheap indeed! Jumero Blanco organico 2010 VDT Extremadura: made from 100% pardina; very light colour, light lemony. Surprisingly expressive with citrus and exotic fruit. Crispy fresh and dry on the palate, juicy, light, easy drinking and enjoyable. The Jumero rosado organico 2010 VDT Extremadura is a 100% tempranillo rosé wine with an appealing darker pink colour, a very fruity nose, a pleasant, fresh, dry, fruity and juicy taste, and a nice, clean and pure fruity finish. The red brother, Jumero tinto organico 2010 VDT Extremadura is also made from 100% tempranillo. The colour is clear ruby red, the nose is very fruity with a hint of spices on the background, the taste is fresh, fruity, juicy, dry, easy drinking with soft tannins and a pure fruity finish. The 3 wines are absolutely recommended for tapas, finger-food, barbecue, parties and all kind of informal meals with friends.)
BODEGAS VALDIVIA (As a great lover of vinos de Jerez, I had to visit this stand. I restricted myself to the real stuff; for reasons of principles, I do no fancy tasting those Dutch or British inventions called ‘medium dry’ (but really sweet) or ‘pale cream’ and so on. The Valdivia Fino is crispy, dry, light and delicate. Actually much more than an aperitif wine, it would go perfectly with all kind of fish tapas, finger-food and especially with raw (fresh!) fish or seashells… The Sacramonte Amontillado 15 years was the big surprise for me. I love amontillado wines, but they have to be dry, like they always should be. This one is dry, yellowish brown ‘amber’ coloured, very aromatic with sensual and warm aromas of the long ageing in oak and the typical roasted almonds, warm and soft with a seemingly never ending finish. This is the type of wine that I would like to get as ‘heart-warming’ and ‘invigorating’ aperitif, coming home after a long, wet, cold and windy autumn day… But it can do much more, I am sure of it. I had at once all kind of culinary visions while tasting this fantastic wine: guinea-fowl breast and leg with a reduction sauce of this wine and some thinly cut slices of roasted almonds; sea bream (or even better ‘Urta’ if you are in Cádiz) softly cooked in the oven with onions, butter and … amontillado, served with a creamy sauce made from amontillado, fish fond and cream; fresh duck liver with baked onions, amontillado and some duck ‘glace de viande’; calf’s liver with onions and amontillado sauce, calf’s liver terrine, quails, pheasant, partridges, pigeons… This wine would inspire any chef in the world! A must for every restaurant! The price is absolutely fantastic, in the Netherlands you would pay around 17.50 Euro for a whole bottle! You have no excuse, just go for it!)