Ripe plum, leather and a puff of sweet pipe smoke open this stalwart silver label Monastrell, always a consistent Spanish bet. This captures Jumilla's massive heat and generosity well, highlighting the savoury, concentrated old vines (40+ years old) grown on chalky, limestone soils. Whole-cluster maceration for 25 days before a year in French oak builds in structure as well as power. Not shy, this is drinking very well now in its 4th year, as the grippy, ample tannins are wearing around the edges.
Savoury anise, graphite and dried cassis open this Priorat, a blend of Garnacha and Cariñena. Bright blue plum, ripe cassis, anise and smoky quartz stoniness fill the generous body, one shouldered with plush tannins and moderate structure, and laced with bergamot. Acidity is fine, but enough to moderate the concentration and heat (14.5% feels hot on the finish). Drinking well now, decanted, and with herb-roasted lamb.
Produced in a solera and bottled after 25 years, this is a remarkable dessert wine. Dark brown in colour with an olive-green rim, it smells of molasses. Sweet and unctuous and soft on the palate, there’s an intense honeyed sweetness mixed with flavours of coffee beans and toast.
Medium-deep yellow with abundant bubbles. Medium-intensity, grapey aromas with ripe apples and yeast. Light-bodied, palate-cleansing lemony acidity and a slight taste of sherry in the background. Good as an apéritif. Drink now.
Spanish red wines are all the rage now, but don’t forget about their whites. There are some really good-value white wines coming out from the Rueda region. This Verdejo is straw-coloured with an intense, aromatic bouquet of apricots and elderberries. Medium-bodied, crisply dry wine with flavours of mandarin and lemon. The good news is the price.
Spain’s ubiquitous party punch gets an upscale treatment with Lolea No.3, a relatively dry sangria bianca in an eye-catching package that follows on the heels of the red No.1 and sweeter white No.2. Made with white wine, wild apple and elderflower, it shows aromas of flower blossom, peach, green apple and vanilla. Lightly carbonated, it’s crisp and refreshingly balanced with flavours of white peach, granny smith apple and a touch of cinnamon. Try adding mint leaves and lime to up the refreshment quotient even further.