Articles Tagged spanish wine

Northern Spain’s “Small California” (Spotlight On Somontano)

Vinted on November 7, 2018 binned in on the road, wine review

[ Editor’s note: Following is a piece that a wrote for a magazine, but after waiting over a year for them to publish it and pay me, I’m giving up and putting it here so that it can see the light of day and you can get some insight into a region that doesn’t see a lot of media play. Enjoy! ]

Northern Spain’s “Small California”

Why your next favorite Cab, Merlot, or Gewürztraminer might just be coming from Somontano

Take a second or two, and think about your favorite Cabernet Sauvignon or Merlot, your go-to Chardonnay, even your last Gewürztraminer.

What region was emblazoned on the labels of those tasty wine? Paso Robles? Washington? Chile?

Chances are very good that the word “Somontano” was not the area printed on the label. And yet, chances are also very good that this relatively small northern Spanish Denominación de Origen has been growing those same fine wine grapes longer than the more famous regions that produce your favorite versions of those same wines.

Alquézar

Somontano’s ancient Alquézar

Like most of the wine regions in Western Europe, viticulture in Somontano was probably established by the Romans, and also probable predates reliable written history, extending back to the second century BC. That it took the region until 1984 to become an officially recognized  Denominación de Origen (DO) is, in a way, indicative of the minor identity crisis that defines the modern Somontano. At a time when “uniqueness” is the marketing battle cry of most luxury fine wine regions, Somontano is the odd man out.

Of the grapes officially permitted in the DO, only three (the white Alcañón, and reds Moristel and Parraleta) are indigenous. A few others (such as Garnacha and Tempranillo) are Spanish in origin but not native to Somontano. The rest are a hodgepodge of some of the wine world’s most famous – and decidedly not Spanish – grapes: Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Syrah, Pinot noir, Chardonnay, and Gewürztraminer.

What makes Somontano such an awkwardly difficult topic in marketing meetings is the same thing that makes many of its wines so good: the place has a great climate growing famous international grape varieties. As winemaker Jesús Artajona Serrano, from Enate (one of the founders of the Somontano DO) puts it, “we are in a small California…”

Read the rest of this stuff »

1

 

 

That Is One Big Pile Of… Enthusiasm (Vinyes Domènech Recent Releases)

Vinted on July 26, 2018 binned in elegant wines, kick-ass wines, on the road, sexy wines, wine review
Joan Ignasi Domènech

Joan Ignasi Domènech, talking sh*t in Vinyes Domènech

If you visit Montsant’s Vinyes Domènech, located in the southern portion of the winemaking district that nearly encircles Spain’s famous Priorat area like a talon, be forewarned that owner Joan Ignasi Domènech is likely to talk sh*t.

As in, literally speak about sh*t. Like, fertilizer. Along with solar energy, water collection, and all things botanical. Long enough to really, really, really make you want to move away from the intensely pungent nearby piles of the stuff…

Domènech, who heads up this family-owned and operated vineyard area surrounded by the natural park beauty of the Llaberia and Montalt mountains at roughly 400 meters elevation, is a stickler for all-things natural, biodynamic, and conservatory.

Vinyes Domènech view 1

Since 2002, this former tech-guy has overseen some of the oldest vines in Capçanes, in a spot that previously had no real supporting infrastructure of any kind. That Domènech didn’t have any previous experience in wine (aside from drinking it, and living near Priorat in Falset) or in reconstituting rugged landscapes didn’t deter his enthusiasm for transforming a previously nearly-inaccessible 15 hectares of land into what is now the handsome hamlet of Vinyes Domènech.

Domènech was, as he tells it, wooed by the natural beauty of the area after visiting it with his family on holidays, and luckily for us wine geeks, he happens to have access to Garnaxta perluga vines that are well into their elderly stage (60-80 years and counting)…

Read the rest of this stuff »

1

 

 

Weekly Wine Quiz: The (Spanish) Name Game

Vinted on July 13, 2012 binned in wine quiz

Welcome to the Weekly Wine Quiz!

Based on feedback from ever-so-vocal-and-intelligent peeps like you, I do not supply the quiz answer directly in the post – you will need to tune back in later in the comments section for the answer. Yeah, yeah, whatever, let’s get to the question already!

Our current round of wine quiz questions are focused on the Rioja winemaking region, and hopefully Friday the 13th isn’t an unlucky day for your wine smarties!

The (Spanish) Name Game

How Did Spain’s Rioja region get its name?

  • A.  From the Latin word Rialia which refers to small regional tributaries
  • B.  From an ancient Basque word meaning "land of rocks"
  • C.  Either A or B – no one knows for sure
  • D.  None of the above

Cheers – and good luck!

11

 

 

Weekly Wine Quiz: A Little Help From Their Friends

Vinted on July 6, 2012 binned in wine quiz

Welcome to the Weekly Wine Quiz!

Based on feedback from ever-so-vocal-and-intelligent peeps like you, I do not supply the quiz answer directly in the post – you will need to tune back in later in the comments section for the answer. Which once again might be delayed, since this week I’m on the road (yes, again) only this time I’m in Crete. But that change of location doesn’t change the theme of the current round of wine quiz questions, which are focused on the Rioja winemaking region

A Little Help From Their Friends

Rioja experienced a boost as a winemaking region when growers from what country came to Navarra in the 1870s (bonus bragging rights points can be scored by also explaining why they came)?

A.  England
B.  France
C.  Germany
D.  Hungary

Cheers – and good luck!

5

 

 

The Fine Print

This site is licensed under Creative Commons. Content may be used for non-commercial use only; no modifications allowed; attribution required in the form of a statement "originally published by 1WineDude" with a link back to the original posting.

Play nice! Code of Ethics and Privacy.

Contact: joe (at) 1winedude (dot) com

Google+

Labels

Vintage

Find

Sign up, lushes!

Enter your email address to subscribe and get all the good stuff via email.

Join 35,694 other subscribers