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The Cellar: Spanish Wines For Under $20

Monday, November 05, 2012

 

This week’s two wines are from Spain, a country which remains one of the best places to look for values in the wine market. While prices are rising, especially on the most popular wines (Cava’s, Rioja’s and Ribera del Duero’s and the sort), there are still a lot of value to be had. All you have to do is dig a little deeper.

2009 Bodegas Y Vinedos de Jalon, Los Pinos ‘Old Vine’ Grenache, Calatayud, Spain

The first wine is an ‘Old Vine’ Grenache from one of the newer DO’s (Denominacion de Origen or Viticulture Area as we would call it). Established in 1990 the DO Catalayud is located in the North Central part

of Spain in the province of Zaragoza. The DO includes 14.000 acres of vineyard spread over 56 municipalities including the town of Calatayud itself. Within this DO red wines based primarily on Grenache constitutes the vast majority of all wines produced. 

The 2009 Los Pinos from Bodegas y Vinedos del Jalon is no exception. This wine is 100% Grenache sourced from 40+ year old vines located in Santa Cruz Sierra and along the Jiloca and Perekiles rivers. The combination of old vines and low yields make for some concentrated grapes, which are then hand harvested and sorted to ensure that only the ripest are made into wine. After 4 months in French oak casks the wine is then bottled for immediate enjoyment. At $15 a pop this wine is a great example of some of the values Spanish wines are all about. It’s full and fruit forward, with ripe dark berries and hints of spice. While perhaps a tad one dimensional and slightly bitter on the finish, this wine is certainly serviceable, especially as an ‘everyday pizza and burger wine’.

2010 Bodegas Valdesil, Valdeorras, Spain

Another Spanish DO that I am paying attention to these days in that of Valdeorras located along the banks of the river Sil in Northwestern Spain. In this sunny region white grape varietals dominate the

landscape, especially one grape by the name of Godello. It is this obscure grape varietal that brings us this week’s second wine. Regular readers will be familiar with the concept of ‘aging a wine on the lees’. (if you need a refresher click here to read last week’s article that covers the process). In Valdeorras it is common for the wines to undergo 4 months of lees aging prior to bottling. This adds body, softens the acidity and gives the wine a certain creaminess it otherwise wouldn’t have.

Less than 10.000 of the more 3.5 million vineyard acres in Spain are planted with Godello – that’s less than 1%! The family-owned Bodega Valdesil is the lucky owner of some of the oldest Godello vines in Spain, as well as some Mencia vines from which they make a couple of red wines. That’s it! Two grape varietals of which they make six wines. Despite suffering a difficult growing season, their 2010 Valdeorras is a great $15 example and one I suggest you seek out. It displays lovely floral aromas on the nose and flavors of melon, apricot and citrus on the palate, all wrapped up in a medium+ body. It ends with exceptional length.

Enjoy!

Steffen Rasch CSW is ready to answer any wine-related questions, comments or concerns you may have. Feel free to email him at srasch@golocalprov.com. And as always, don’t forget to follow GoLocalProv’s Wine Cellar on Facebook.

 

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