Spanish Food and Drink Industry Federation (FIAB), Food & Wines from Spain, Spanish Ministry of the Environment and Rural Marine Affairs (MARM) along with the Spanish High Commission in Delhi organised the first ‘Discover Spanish Taste’ event. Predominantly a Spanish food, gastronomy and wine (of course!) promotion event was held at Taj Mahal Hotel, Mann Singh Road, on December 1st, at the Long Champ. Apart from wines, varied collection of olives, olive oils, cheese and dairy products, poultry, packaged pastas and spices, biscuits, chocolates, and what not got the Spanish taste-buds under one roof. There was enough to lure all.
The event started early in the day, with a busy and bustling tasting area that was preceded by a press conference. As it rolled towards a relaxed evening, it called for nice wines to wrap the day. Sommelier Magandeep SINGH made a presentation on Spanish wine regions and followed it up with a guided tasting session. The session talked not only about the wines but also food, culture, stories, dances and architecture from the country and it was packed with hoteliers, importers, chefs, investors, delegates and enthusiasts. The presentation broke down wines to their basics, blending in some finer aspects of the regions and their produce. From debatable Rioja and Ribera del Duero reds to discussing Garnacha, equal time was dedicated to covering every possible aspect of this diverse wine country. It was almost ironic when Magan spoke at length of fortified wines and made out mouths water but didn’t taste any. Funny anecdotes and Magan’s ease of delivery made learning and remembering easier and fun even in the presence of some high-on-alcohol wines.
During the session we tasted seven wines. Our notes, compiled during the tasting, follow:
•2008 COPABOCA WHITE – VERDEJO – RUEDA: Young cool climate white with a light lemon colour having a hint green tinge. Fruity sweet bouquet with dominant cut grass, raw grapes and white fruits. Refreshing acidity and balance. Ideal wine to start the evening with. Catch it while young.
•2008 COPABOCA ROSÉ – TEMPRANILLO (80%) + GRENACHE (20%) – CASTILLA Y LEÓN: Light rosy colour with young fading rims. Light wine with sweet hint of caramel and floral notes. Clean and balanced. Notes of rose, raspberry and cranberry. Easy kitty party wine.
•2009 MENGOBA CRIANZA – MENCIA – BIERZO: Cannot go without complimenting the label. Dark ruby colour with fresh, dusty, oak. Almost smells like a pigeons’ nest. Very tannic, mainly young and green, peppery with chunks of cherries and black berries. Good character wines that yells for food. Wine made to age, keep for 3-4 years. Too heavy to be drunk by itself.
•2003 MONTE AMAN RESERVA – TINTA DEL PAIS – AIRES DEL DUERO: Very approachable dark cherry coloured wine. Light bodied, soft wine, with high spirit/ vanish impact on the nose. Notes of plum, stewed apricots. Young dusty tannins, oak, leather, tobacco, medium alcohol and acidity. Slightly off-balanced. Age for 2-3 years. Needs meat
•2008 COPABOCA RED – TEMPRANILLO (80%) + GRENACHE (20%) – CASTILLA Y LEÓN: Dark ruby medium bodied wine. Fairly young but drinkable. Tempranillo dominance and Grenache fruity backbone character. Plum cherry, red berries, oak, sweet spices. Medium tannins that are young and makes mouth stiff. High alcohol but balanced
•2006 ROMPESEDAS – TINTA DE TORO – TORO: Glass staining purple colour, with medium to high body. Notes of stewed plums, glycerine, aloe vera, subtle tannins and crunchy oak. Smoky, dark fruits and black character with bitter finish. Soave. Great food wine to pair with grilled or braised wet meat dishes.
•2008 ALGES – TEMPRANILLO + GARNACHA + SYRAH – L’ALBAGES: Dark red core with light purple rim. Black, sweet cola notes, candied, smoky, tar, herbaceous, kidney beans, liquorice. Complex but not lavish. Balanced medium bodied wine with young green tannins. Good aftertaste. Needs food.
Spain and Spanish tickled everyones’ fancy and palate. In a country where European wines have always reserved a top spot, a wine-friendly country such as Spain has only slightly made an impact. This phenomenon of the ‘underdog’ Spanish wines having a very small portion of wine lists across the country is truly beyond explanation. Even after comparatively simpler appellation systems, easy-to-name grape varieties, competitive reds, refreshing whites, romantic rosés, and deliciously sweet fortified wines, this wine country struggles to find true representation of its core value. Sessions and tastings like these will definitely help enthusiasts develop a keener interest and understanding of Vinos de España.