I lived in Spain for five months, and I can safely say I learned nothing about wine while I was there. Well, that’s not entirely true. I did learn that a majority of the Spaniards in the north pour a soda similar to Sprite in almost all of their wines during the day and Coke into their wines at night. While there, on the occasions that I was drinking wine, that was what I did, too. More often, tart sidra was what I went for, and it was often what my host mom was pouring at the dinner table. So, unlike the kids who studied down south and drank sangria and red wine by the gallon, my experience with Spanish wine didn’t really take off until I was stateside again.
Last month, in an effort to learn more about Spanish wine, I jumped on board for #WineStudio. You’ve probably read my spiel by now, but if you’ve missed my other #WineStudio posts, this online Twitter session occurs monthly on Tuesday evenings at 9 p.m. my time. Run by PROTOCOL Wine Studio, each month focuses on a distinct region or type of wine and throughout that month we all get together to tweet about the wine and geeky things like terroir, producers, and what wine means to us as individuals. If you’re at all interested in expanding your knowledge about the world of wine, I’d recommend joining us this upcoming Tuesday for a discussion about Turkish wines.
Before we delved into Turkey in October, we did spend quite a bit of time talking about Codorníu and the wine samples for September. While Codorníu is based in Catalonia, it is a very global company that owns wineries in other areas of Spain and as far away as Argentina. Throughout the month we chatted with the company, learned about the history of the brand, and discussed how cava should not be confused with Champagne. We talked about a little bit of everything, but afterwards I felt like I was just scratching the surface of Spanish wine. I’m taking this to mean that I have to participate in the next Spanish #WineStudio whenever that happens. For right now, I’m working with what I learned last month and what I thought about the wines we tried.
When I think Spanish wine, one of the first things that comes to mind is Rioja, so the 2012 Bodegas Bilbainas Zaco was the bottle I opened first. This inky Tempranillo was heavy on the cherry and dark plum flavors, but there was a touch of leathery smokiness to it. It was better the longer it stayed open, and by hour three, I was starting to dig it. There wasn’t much more to it besides a good time, yet isn’t that why we drink wine more often than not anyway? In the end, I enjoyed the bottle and would open one up again, though I don’t think it’ll become a staple in my house anytime soon.
The most interesting wine of the month was the 2014 Septima Malbec; although that had more to do with the #WineStudio discussion than the wine itself. Basically what the conversation came down to was whether or not the people who would drink this wine would care about tasting notes and other factoids. My assumption? Probably not. The imbibers going after this one would probably be looking for something drinkable under twenty dollars, which is exactly what this was.
The only non-Spanish one in the bunch, this wine hailed from Mendoza, the land of Malbec. It was what it was, nothing more and nothing less. For me, it was fruity and a touch thin. However, for the friend with whom I tried it, it was approachable because of the berry flavors and light tannin. I’d guess the $13.99 price tag would make it a good option for the average Malbec drinker. Get it if you’re new to Malbec or you’re looking for something that you don’t have to brood over like a vampire.
Though I’m usually a red girl, the bubbly was my favorite. The NV Anna de Codorníu Brut consisted of 70% Chardonnay and 30% Parellada. Pale greenish-gold in color, crisp, and featuring nice bubbles, it paired well with the fried fish and polenta fries I was having the evening I opening this one up. Dry and citrusy, this was the kind of bottle that I would have on hand all the time for some easy bubbles. Like the other wines we tried this month, it wasn’t life changing, but it was a dependable, go-to option for a night in, and sometimes, that’s exactly what I need. With an SRP of $14.99, the wine was much more enjoyable than the sugar bombs that others in my house go for, and any option that’s better than that is a win.
These are wines meant for a breezy weeknight at home, not ones meant to be poked or prodded over with a bunch of wine geeks. Considering the prices and the fact that the wines were all pleasant, I’d say they have a strong future ahead of them, and if you’re curious about Spanish wine, they’re a great starting place… especially now that you can go back and read all the #WineStudio tweets about them.
These wines were kindly provided to me by the companies listed above, but all opinions are my own.