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WBW 35: Passionate Spain

WBW 35: Passionate Spain

by Tim Elliott on July 11, 2007

Plaza de España, Sevilla (photo by Scott Clemens)

Another month has passed and it’s time for our virtual tasting, known as Wine Blogging Wednesday, masterminded by Lenn Thompson almost 3 years ago.

This month’s theme, Passionate Spanish Wines, was chosen by Michelle & Kevin of My Wine Education. They ask that we pick some Spanish wine to blog with special attention to the values found for $10 USD and less. And what a great theme for me as I just spent 10 days in Spain. So I thought I would write notes for four wines that meet the host’s criteria; two purchased in Spain and two purchased here. I thought it would be fun to see which side of the pond the best Spanish values could be found.

Spanish Purchases

When I was in Montsant with Gabriella and Ryan from Catavino on July 2nd, I picked up the first wine I’ll blog tonight for 6.30 Euro ($8.66). It carries the prestigious Priorat D.O. and proves you can find some decent values from this red-hot region of Spain.

Vinicola Del Priorat, “Onix Classic”, Priorat 2006 – A blend of Garnacha and Carignon. Dark purple in color with aromas of bing cherry and licorice. Cherry and strawberry fruit flavors with white pepper and dusty tannins. A solid value.

15% ABV
Natural cork closure
Score: 86

The next purchase was made in Barcelona at a great wine store Ryan introduced me to named Vila Vini Teca. We challenged the staff for the best wine for under 6 Euros and they came up with the following for a shade over 4 Euro.

Bodegas Agapito Rico, “Carchelo”, Jumilla 2006 (4.30 Euro/$5.90) – Made from 100% Monastrell (a.k.a. Mourvedre) this wine is extremely dark purple-black in color. Very strong blackberry jam and fennel aromas prepare the taster for a fruit bomb. And this wine doesn’t disappoint in the mouth with fresh boysenberry pie filling flavors with some blueberry and black pepper finishing very juicy and round with good acidity. A very nice value and a fun wine to drink.

14% ABV
Natural cork closure
Score: 88

Twin Cities Purchases

Back home I picked up a Garnacha (a.k.a. Grenache) from D.O. Calatayud in northeastern Spain’s Aragon region.

Viña Alarba, Grenache, “Old Vines”, Calatayud 2005 ($8) – Garnet-purple in color with aromas of cherry, spice and earth. Medium bodied in the mouth with cranberry and strawberry fruit, some white pepper, earth and minerality on the finish. A lot of wine for the money.

14% ABV
Synthetic cork closure
Score: 88

My final selection is one I tasted before I went on my trip that is only available here in the U.S. Selected and blended by Eric Solomon, this wine is perhaps the best value from Spain I’ve yet found.

Bodegas Castano, “Hecula”, Yecla 2003 – ($10) – Another 100% Monastrell, this time from D.O. Yecla. Complex cherry, black currant, violet & licorice aromas. Black currant, blueberry & black pepper finishing with fine grained tannins, minerality and good acidity. A delicious value.

14% ABV
Natural cork closure
Score: 92

What’s interesting about this tasting is how many great values can be found inside Spain and here in the U.S. From browsing wine stores in Spain, I’d give them the nod for more wines available under $10 USD a bottle. But here in the Twin Cities, we pay more for wine than in other parts of the country so you might find better pricing in your local market.

Thanks again to Michelle & Kevin for a great and timely (for me) theme this month. I’m looking forward to WBW founder Lenn’s selection for next month’s 3-year anniversary event.

Photo by Scott Clemens / Epicurean Traveler

  • Your Bodegas Castano wine sounds much better than mine! John Potter also likes that wine, so I will have to make a concerted effort to find it. The whole Spanish trip sounds like it was fun and thanks for keeping us all in the loop on your adventures. Virtual wine tourism is still enjoyable!

  • TCE


    I have really enjoyed reading about your exploits in Spain; eating great food and fabulous wines. You make it sound like the high adventure that it is.


  • Tim

    Dr. Debs: You should have no trouble finding this wine and I highly recommend you try it. It’s a lot of wine for $10-15.

    Thanks, Dad; more to come on the trip shortly.

  • Pingback: Quick Picks 9 - Bodegas Castano, "Hecula" 2004 | Winecast()

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