Spanish reds offer spicy flavours
There will be lots of Australian wine doing the rounds over the holidays. And why not? It’s got the cheerful style that many people enjoy. But seeing, and drinking the same wines at every party can get boring. I’d like to recommend an alternative. It is something different, but equally pleasing. Take on a Latin lover! Spread cheer with the yummy reds from Spain.
Spanish reds are often described as the Aussies of Europe. There’s an emphasis on richness, so you can expect warm-hearted, spicy wines — everyone’s favourite. Few people know that it was Spain that first came up with the idea of aging reds in oak casks, thereby giving the wine spicy/sweet vanilla flavours. Spanish reds also have a mellow character but they seldom feel too heavy or rich.
For the past few years we’ve been hearing lots about the foods and chefs of Spain. Tapas bars are popping up everywhere — so it’s a good time to start exploring the wines.
For a Spanish house red, I’d recommend Bodega Piqueras ’03 Castillo de Almansa. It’s a little earthy at first, the charm kicks in later. It could well be the best value red in the world. Get a case.
In the mellow and seductive category try Campo Viejo ’04 Rioja. This would be a good choice with the big bird. It has a gentle quality and a nice way of fitting in rather than overpowering, and adds a little spice, too.
For a little fireside romance, or a slow dinner, you need Vina Mayor ’01 Ribera del Duero. This charmer has lots of warmth and spice, along with a lovely old wine character.
If you must have Aussie why not a white? Wolf Blass Dry Riesling would be a great party starter with its hit of refreshment and teasing citrusy flavours.
- Hope everyone’s stocking contains a copy of BILLY’S BEST BOTTLES WINES for 2008! I tasted more than 1,000 wines to choose 200 wines I think offer great value and personality. Available at book stores or from www.billysbestbottles.com. $21.95