by Natalie Scavo
France, Italy, Austria and Germany are the makers of our most favorite wines. Let us face the fact that they are our “go-to” regions that we’ve grown so accustomed to. Conveniently, they are the wines we choose to have when dining at home with family and friends, as well as the wines we look for on a menu when dining out. Often incorporated into our most beloved occasions because they are tried and true, and of course, familiar to mostly everyone.
But I’ve been inspired to investigate an overlooked area on Europe’s Iberian peninsula that is home to several grape varieties, some familiar, some not. A region that in 2014 was the leading wine exporter in the world, Spain. Spain has 22 red grape varieties and 25 white. The wines that I chose to taste were reds. A Tempranillo from Rioja, a Tempranillo from Ribera del Duero and a Monastrell from the Jumilia region.
First, the Tempranillo Rioja Licenciado Reserva 2008 was smooth and balanced with notes of vanilla, cherry and even some licorice. This wine regularly priced at $50 was found at a bargain for only $20.
Next, the Valdubon Ribera del Duero 2003 was bright with subtle sweetness on the nose. It had notes of vanilla and more of ripe cherries on the nose. I got some black pepper on this as well. This was priced around $52.
Last, the Jumilia Carmine Monastrell 2009 was a really nice drinkable wine with cherry notes, some spice and like the Rioja, it had licorice on the nose.The price on this was $16.
I found all three of these wines very pleasant to drink and also found each of them to be of great value. Each wine has its own personality and although they share similar qualities, they really are three different wines. The one I enjoyed the most from this tasting was the Rioja. I’ll revisit this wine again and look forward to pairing it with a tasty bite. So now it’s time to move on but before moving on to more reds, I think I’ll visit Spain’s world of whites.
With Spain’s diverse geography, climate and culture and the many grape varieties the country has to offer, I’m certain this is going to be a delicious and exciting adventure!