Sunday, October 05, 2008

Three Views of Spain and One Paella

Spanish wine is most commonly associated with red wines made from Tempranillo, but Spain produces a myriad of wines from quirky grapes and unheralded appellations. Similar to my Lasagna/Italian wine taste test, tonight I sought to pair a few Spanish reds with "Paella with Pine Nut Meatballs, Sausage and Potatoes" (p. 346) to see which worked best.

Carrying the flag for Rioja was the 2001 Finca Allende Vina Olvido. Similar to my reviews of last January - tarry prunes and leather on the nose, with crisp cherry fruit and silky tannins - this seemed to be the crowd favourite pairing for this meaty paella, but less interesting than the other two wines. 
cork, 12.5% alcohol, Score: 17/20

The smallish Spanish D.O. of Montsant was represented by the 2001 Capçanes Costers del Gravet. A blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Grenache and Carignan, sporting a complex nose of smokey blackberry and violet, cooked fruit and a heavy dose of oak. Dry and velvety textured on the palate with a very long finish - seems like it could age, but fine now with a lengthy decant. Probably better with a steak than tonight's paella. (2000 vintage reviewed here)
cork, 14% alcohol, Score: 17.5/20

Bierzo is located in northern Spain and is home to a rare grape, Mencia, the grape used in tonight's 2006 Pétalos by Descendientes de J. Palacios. A vivid nose of damp, black earth and vegetal notes...cherries, cappuccino, liquorice, black pepper and meaty aromas as well...very complex, coughing up new secrets with every swirl of the glass. Beautiful texture and mouthfeel, velvety tannins and crisp acidity, an extraordinary wine at this price point (but not as well paired with this paella). (2005 vintage reviewed here)
cork, 12.5% alcohol, Score: 18/20

Now some of you may recall a rather a rather salty paella in January, but my skills have much improved - the real star tonight was my paella! The first time my cullinary cooking skills have overshadowed my wine selections...


David McDuff said...

I really need to try/drink more Mencia. The handful of good one's I've had remind me of a jucier version of Loire Cab Franc.

Marcus said...

Well aren't I glad and went and read the comments... cause unlike Portugal's rustic reds, nothing ever reminds me LESS of my favourite Loire wines than so many of the Spanish wines I get exposed to. I'm obviously Mencia-ignorant.

Joe, want to swap a Bierzo for a Caparzo? Or something? I'm intrigued.

Joe said...

David: funny you should mention that - I used to read Mencia was related to Cab Franc, but I just read the other day that genetic studies have ruled out the link. Regardless, I see the link...

Marcus: nope, wouldn't go to Spain looking for a Loire substitute. Mencia is intriguing - no need to swap, I have a mini vertical - an '05 and an '06 of this wine for you to try when you come over next time!