Saturday, December 22, 2012

Holiday Rescue Mission

Still looking for wines to celebrate the Holidays? Wine Armada to the rescue! Take a look below at some of the great offerings from Spain that we tasted, and approved, at our most recent December get-together.

Gran Sarao Brut Cava - Simple, yet elegant, fresh sparkler that won't break the bank (under $10!) and will launch your party with universal food friendliness. Traditional grapes of Xarel-lo, Parellada, Macabeo, with a little Chardonnay, makes for a solid frame of apples and toast, while finishing clean and demanding another sip.

Freixenet "Elyssia" Cava Gran Cuvee Brut - More complex than the Sarao, with sophisticated flavors of citrus, almonds and a sweet, spiciness that let's you know this is not your ordinary Freixenet in the black bottle. Fine choice for shifting your gathering into second gear.

2009 Vina Almirante Albariño Pionero Maccerato - Old-school Albariño, with a depth, and creaminess, not found in many of today's wines from Spain's cool climate region of Rías Baixas. Age has mellowed this white beauty, with its peachy notes leading to poached pear, followed by a long, honey-drizzled biscuit finish. Send a search party out for this one since availability may be limited.

Montecastrillo Rosado - One of the finest Rosados we've tasted in a long time, and maybe the only one we've tried from the prestigious Ribera del Duero region. High altitude, 100% Tempranillo gives this pink stunner a freshness and balance that wowed the crowd. Would make an unbelievable pairing partner with so many of your Christmas goodies.

Senda 66 Tempranillo - Unexpected flavors from this red from La Mancha threw us off course with jammy crimson fruit, intense spice leading to licorice-filled, oaky finish. This bold effort, from a small grower/winemaker cooperative, may not be for everyone, but will definitely please the "big wine" lover in the family. 

2004 Primitivo Quiles “Raspay” Tinto Alicante - This 100% Monastrell was a revelation for all “wine geeks” in attendance. A unique journey back in time that involved 80 year-old vines, combined with 12 months of American oak aging, to create an energetic expression of red berries, cherry vanilla with subtle spices. The incredible freshness of this 2004 rarity was amazing, making every sip totally enjoyable.

Lustau Pedro Ximenez “San Emilio” - We capped off the evening with this dessert in a glass. Molasses, raisins and candied nuts all danced on our palates from this superbly created sweet sherry. Despite this wine’s ample body, balance was properly maintained, with lively acidity that kept everyone coming back for more.

Have your own Spanish favorites for the Holidays? Please let us know at