Archive for category Spain
2011 Bodegas Borsao Tinto Selection
Spain > Aragon > Campo de Borja
Where Purchased: Liquor Barn ($8). Also spotted at Corner Wines
When I hear critics screaming amazing things about a certain wine, I generally tend to stay away. Why? Because the process is fairly predictable: critics go stark-raving-mad over a particular wine and say great things about it. The public gobbles it up and the wine sells out. Faced with such high demand, the winery cranks out as much as they can – dollar signs in their eyes. Eventually wine quality goes down the toilet.
Thankfully, that has not been the case with this wine.
My intent was to leave this wine alone. But when it started showing up everywhere – wine stores in several cities, restaurants in several places, my best friend’s cellar – I decided to give it a shot. I’m glad I did.
Up until just a few years ago nobody had heard of Campo de Borja, the tiny region in northwest Spain where this wine is produced. Then some wine critics came along and said a few nice things, making sure to mention what a tremendous value these wines are. Suddenly, boom, people started tripping over themselves to find Campo de Borja wines. Primarily known for producing Garnacha (known as Grenache elsewhere), Campo de Borja has only been formally classified as a wine region since 1980 – practically yesterday by European wine standards.
Bodegas Borsao is one of the largest producers in the region. Independently owned since 1958, 80% of their wine is exported, primarily to the US and other European nations, and wine critics in those regions have returned the favor by adorning their wines with praise.
I cannot disagree with them. For $8, this wine is simply delicious. Dry, fruity, and full-bodied, I could drink this one all day. It pairs well with a variety of foods, but is good just for sipping too. Serve this at a party and your friends will swear you paid a lot more for it!
This is a great summer wine. Perfect for your cookouts, or just sipping on the porch, this wine will pair well with beef dishes or anything off the grill. It might be too strong for fish, unless it’s strongly seasoned.
Blend of 85% Garnache, 15% Tempranillo. 14% Alcohol. Drink within 3 years.
2008 Bodegas Ramon Bilbao Crianza
Spain > La Rioja > Rioja Alta
Where Purchased: Kroger ($15)
They say that to find the best wine values right now, look into countries where Spanish is spoken. I love a deal and recently tried a couple of wines from Spain’s Rioja region. I was not disappointed.
A mountainous region in the north of Spain, the Rioja region is known for producing wines of tremendous value. Why? I’m not sure, but it may have something to do with the fact that Spain has more vineyards planted than any other country in the world. They have to sell all that wine somehow.
Rioja is divided into three main regions that you should be aware of:
- Rioja Alta – a higher elevation area that produces “earthier” wines
- Rioja Alavesa – a medium elevation area that produces “fruitier” wines, reminiscent of California red wines
- Rioja Baja – a desert area whose wines are primarily used for blending, although occasionally something good slips through.
Bodegas Ramon Bilbao (the Spaniards call their wineries “bodegas”) was founded in 1924 and has grown to become one of Rioja’s largest bodegas. Even though today the bodega is owned by a Spanish wine conglomerate, the wines are well-regarded and highly sought after.
The Ramon Bilbao is one of the most aromatic red wines I’ve encountered in a very long time. The floral aromas – rose petals and violets I’d say – jumped out of the glass. On first sip there were lots of blackberry flavors, with just a hint of char and some vanilla notes. The wine was plenty tannic, but not at all unpleasant, and it ended with a long, plummy, slightly oaky finish. Overall, this wine was excellent!
100% Tempranillo. Alchol – 13.5%
Note that this wine is labeled as a Crianza. This means it’s been aged for two or two and-a-half years prior to release – a year or so in oak barrels, and another year or so in the bottle.