Spanish wines are coming…

  • Oct. 12, 2017 1:30 p.m.

The 40th annual Vancouver International Wine Festival will take place Feb. 24-March 4, 2018.

Advance tickets for the International Festival Tastings and other select events are on sale at reduced rates from November 1 through Dec. 15. Check vanwinefest.ca for details!

This eight-day wine and food extravaganza will showcase 177 wineries from 15 countries, including 38 wineries from Spain and 24 wineries from Portugal, this year’s featured countries. Just in case you have trouble waiting quite that long… Why not tease your taste buds with a few of these Spanish wines, today?

Bodegas Victorianas is one of 7 distinctly different Spanish wineries in Grupo Faustino which is based in Oyón in north eastern Spain. The wines from Vina Losar are among the most affordable.

More savoury in style than lusciously fruity, Vina Losar Viura (36643) $8.99 is a lean, bright wine made from the most widely planted white grape in Rioja. Aromas and flavours of pear and white peach ride a tart base of lemon and fresh crushed almond.

From La Mancha, Vina Losar Tempranillo (585554) $8.99 is a light red full of fresh cherry notes with lingering notes of tomato and wet leather. Served with soft white cheeses, it blooms and shows some earthy plum and vanilla flavours.

Also known as Tinto del Toro, Tinta Fina, and Tinto del Pais in different regions, Tempranillo is the Spain’s most widely planted red wine grape, ahead of Garnacha. Clever winemakers have discovered how to internationalize their export wines by adding ‘foreign’ wine grapes to their Tempranillo blends.

Castilla La Mancha is south of Madrid. Cal Y Canto Tempranillo Merlot Syrah (497560) $10.99 is a luscious little blend of 80 per cent Tempranillo with 15 per cent Merlot and 5 per cent Syrah. Rich, fruity and intense, it is oozes raspberry and black cherry aromas, cedar and floral violet notes with a spritz of vanilla.

Along with the many Spanish red wines that will be available for sampling at the 40th annual Vancouver International Wine Festival next February, there will be many tempting still whites.

A simply stunning wine from the hills overlooking Spain’s Costa del Sol, Jorge Ordonez Botani Old Vines Moscatel (839589) $21.99 is a magnificent and nostril quivering white made from Muscat. Far from being any kind of sweet Moscato, this leads with rose petal and mandarin orange blossom aromas over a tropical fruit salad bowl of flavours.

Toro is a wine grape growing region in the province of Zamora, in the northwest of Castile and Léon, running along the Duero river. Here, Tempranillo is called Tinta del Toro and produces dense, rich red wines.

Bodegas Covitoro was born in 1974, a cooperative of growers that today farms 900 hectares worth of producing vines. Barbian (33024) $21.99 is a plush, fully fruited, 100 per cent Tinta de Toro red made in a fruit-driven ‘New World’ style. It overflows with flavours of ripe strawberries, plums, prunes, figs and blackberries.

The wines of Rioja are highly controlled by a regulatory committee in Spain called the Consejo Regulador DOCa Rioja. For Spanish wine to be labeled as a Gran Reserva, law requires that it be aged for a minimum of 5 years, with two of those years being in an oak cask or barrel.

A traditional blend of Tempranillo, Graciano and Mazuelo, Beronia Gran Reserva Rioja 2008 (200782) $39.35 has aged into rich and silky, fruity spiciness. Over a base of coffee and dark chocolate, blue and black berry fruit, liquorice and molasses all jostle for the attention of your taste buds. Another stunner!

South-west of famed Rioja, Ribera del Duero is considered by many wine professionals to be capable of producing wines as long-lived and elegant as the wines of Rioja.

Here called Tinta del Pais, Tempranillo is the only grape used in making Hammeken Cellars’ Oráculo Ribera del Duero (693671) $69.55. From vines that are 80 to 120 years old, Oráculo is densely fruity, full of dried black cherry and blackberry aromas and flavours that slide into toasted oak, cedar, fresh tobacco leaf and oriental spices.

Advance tickets for the International Festival Tastings and other select events are on sale at reduced rates from November 1 through Dec. 15. Visit vanwinefest.ca for details!

Reach WineWise by emailing douglas_sloan@yahoo.com

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