Text Size:-+

Spain's Latest Vintage: A Report From the 2004 Wine & Tapas Great Match Tasting

On Tuesday of this week I attended a rather glitzy event called "The Great Match: Wine and Tapas 2004," put on by the Trade Commission of Spain which was an unadulterated marketing ploy for Spanish wine and associated food products (cheeses, olive oils, etc.). It was quite the affair with tickets running $50 a pop and catering tables by some of the top chefs and restaurants in the city including Gerald Hirogoyen of Piperade, Michael Mina, Martin Castillo of Limon, Jack Yoss at Postrio, Khai Duong from Ana-Mandara, Robert Riescher from Tablespoon, Stephen Barber from Mecca, and David Bazirgan from Baraka.

I attended the press tasting prior to the main event, so sadly I was unable to sample the delectables these folks had on offer, but I keep telling myself that I was just there for the wine.

Unfortunately, the wines on offer were mostly disappointing when taken as a whole group. Spain is billed as this huge rising star, but if one were to use this tasting as a representative sample, much of the winemaking is still clunky with over-oaking being the primary flaw. Now in the interest of full disclosure, I should say that Tempranillo is not one of my favorite varietals, but I have had some good ones, and there were unfortunately few that made it past the mark of "good" in my book. The whites, primarily Albariños showed better.

It was still a worthwhile event, as it gave me some more exposure to the various regions of Spain (as well as being a good prep for WBW2 next week). Additionally I was able to meet Enoch Choi, a regular commenter here at Vinography and fellow blogger (sometimes about wine), in person -- something that's always a pleasure.

Here are the wines that that I found to be notable from the event:

2003 Valminor Albariño, Adegas Valmiñor, Rias Baixas. Light, fresh, incredibly floral with heavy melon and stone fruit on the nose, crisp and dry through the finish. Score: 9. Cost: $15

2001 Fra Guerau, Vinas del Montsant, Monsant (Syrah, Merlot, Tempranillo, Grenache, Carignan, Cabernet, Monastrell). A very unusual medley of varietals yielding dark fruits with moderate tannins. Not the best tasting wine of the day, but certainly the best value. Score: 8.5/9. Cost: $12

1998 Miguel Torres "Mas La Plana," Catalunya (single vineyard Cabernet). Score: 9. Cost: $46.2000 Absis, Pares Balta, Penedes. Good, but could have had half the tannins it did. Score: 9 Cost: $55.
2000 Torre Muga, Rioja (80% old vine tempranillo, 15% Cabernet, 5% ??) Score: 9 Cost: $65
2001 Les Sorts "Old Vines" (Grenache, Carignan, Cabernet). A method carbonica wine. Score: 8.5 Cost: ??
2000 Ardevol, Priorat (Grenache, Carignan, Syrah, and Cabernet). Score: 8.5/9. Cost: $50
2000 Scala Dei Cartoixa, Priorat (Grenache and Cabernet). Score: 8.5/9. Cost: $26.99
1998 Finca Valpiedra Riserva, Rioja (90% Tempranillo, 10% ??). Score: 8.5/9. Cost: $32
2000 Sierra Cantabria Crianza, Rioja. Score: 8.5/9. Cost: $18
2001 Fra Guerau, Vinas del Montsant, Monsant (Syrah, Merlot, Tempranillo, Grenache, Carignan, Cabernet, Monastrell). Score: 8.5/9. Cost: $12
2001 Mas Igneus FA 206, Priorat. Score: 8.5/9. Cost: $20
2001 Clos Manyetes, Clos Mogador, Priorat (95% Carignan, 5% Grenache). Score: 8.5. Cost: $90

2003 Pazo Pondal Albariño, Rias Baixas. Score: 9. Cost: $18
2003 Valminor Albariño, Adegas Valmiñor, Rias Baixas. Score: 9. Cost: $15
2003 Aura Verdejo (Verdelho), Rueda. (9% Sauvignon Blanc). Score: 8.5. Cost: $18.

Comments (5)

enoch choi wrote:
10.01.04 at 1:43 AM

remember, the pricing is suggested retail, so you can find alot of these for a bit less. I agree in general with your feel on spanish wines. Too light in body, too sweet in oak. Some nice ones i'll blog on soon... and look forward to your interview being posted ;)

01.21.05 at 7:53 AM

Dear sir,

First of all, thanks for your nice words after attending the Wine & Tapas Great Match. My name is Cristina Blanco and I am the person in charge of exports regarding the albariño Valmiñor 2003. I was very pleased to read your comments after tasting my wine in the "Great Match". I really appreciate.
Unfortunately people who organised the event didn't print the catalogues correctly and the Albariño Valmiñor 2003 is not from Bodegas Pazo de San Mauro but from ADEGAS VALMIÑOR. It was a mistake they've made. Anyway this mail is just to let you know this and for thanking you for the tasting and the comments about my wine.

Again, all my gratitude.

Yours faithfully,

Cristina Blanco
Adegas Valmiñor
Mail: [email protected]

Alder wrote:
01.21.05 at 8:29 AM

Thank you for the information, I have corrected my posting to reflect the proper name.

Melissa wrote:
11.05.05 at 8:15 AM

Does anyone know where I can buy the Scala Dei Cartoixa Reserve 2000? thank you, Melissa

11.21.14 at 10:57 AM

obviously like your web-site but you have to check the spelling on several
of your posts. Several of them are rife with
spelling problems and I in finding it very bothersome to tell the reality nevertheless I will definitely come back again.

Comment on this entry

(will not be published)
(optional -- Google will not follow)

Type the characters you see in the picture above.

Buy My Book!

small_final_covershot_dropshadow.jpg A wine book like no other. Photographs, essays, and wine recommendations. Learn more.

Follow Me On:

Twitter Facebook Pinterest Instagram Delectable Flipboard

Most Recent Entries

The Mysterious Art of Selling Direct Critical Consolidation in Wine What Has California Got Against Wineries? Dirty Money for a Legendary Brand Vinography Images: Tendrils Highlights from Tasting Champagne with the Masters Off to Portugal for a Drink Vinography Images: Hazy Afternoon The Dark Queen of Châteauneuf-du-Pape: Domaine du Pégau Does California Have Too Many AVAs?

Favorite Posts From the Archives

Masuizumi Junmai Daiginjo, Toyama Prefecture Wine.Com Gives Retailers (and Consumers) the Finger 1961 Hospices de Beaune Emile Chandesais, Burgundy Wine Over Time The Better Half of My Palate 1999 Királyudvar "Lapis" Tokaji Furmint, Hungary What's Allowed in Your Wine and Winemaking Why Community Tasting Notes Sites Will Fail Appreciating Wine in Context The Soul vs. The Market 1989 Fiorano Botte 48 Semillion,Italy

Archives by Month


Required Reading for Wine Lovers

The Oxford Companion to Wine by Jancis Robinson The Taste of Wine by Emile Peynaud Adventures on the Wine Route by Kermit Lynch Love By the Glass by Dorothy Gaiter & John Brecher Noble Rot by William Echikson The Science of Wine by Jamie Goode The Judgement of Paris by George Taber The Wine Bible by Karen MacNeil The Botanist and the Vintner by Christy Campbell The Emperor of Wine by Elin McCoy The World Atlas of Wine by Hugh Johnson The World's Greatest Wine Estates by Robert M. Parker, Jr.