A prominent wine writer once declared that Spain would be the future of the wine industry. That may have been true, had the rest of the world not also improved its wine quality.
Spain also suffered under economic and domestic challenges that took some of the wind out of its wine business. But the wines remain very good and the industry diverse.
Only Italy and the United States are as diverse in their offerings, with wines made in every conceivable style. One can pair every aspect of a meal with Spanish wines. Even when you leave the main course meal pairing, Spain also gave us sherry.
You can start things off with a sparkling wine — Cava — Spain’s answer to Champagne. Cava is made in the same painstaking process as France’s great Champagne and often is ridiculously inexpensive. Sparkling rosé pairs with literally everything — or nothing. So it is with Gran Castillo Rocio Cava Brut, a fresh and vibrant wine with the character of fresh strawberries and a hint of citrus. $17. HHHH
Rueda is the spiritual homeland of a white wine grape not often seen outside Spain — verdejo. Verdejo found its way to the Iberian peninsula long ago from North Africa and makes an aromatic, soft wine that can at times be slammed as simple and flabby.
The refreshing Alberto Sanz Verdejo 2019 Rueda is bright up front with lemon chiffon and banana notes with a tight, citric finish, doing the job for the price. $10. ♦♦♦♦
Spain’s other great white wine region is Rías Baixas. Granbasin Etiqueta Verde Rías Baixas 2019 Albariño smells floral and has a creamy texture with flavors of apple and citrus with a light finish. The wine is tasty but missing mid-palate. $11. ♦♦♦ 1/2
Just as Italy ushers in thoughts of drinkable red wine, so does Spain. Most of the country’s red wine is light- to medium-bodied. Tempranillo is a favorite red grape. Some warmer regions are producing big, complex wines influenced by modern, international styles. One of those regions is Jumilla.
Bodegas Ego 2016 Infinito blends grapes associated with two French regions — Rhône and Bordeaux. It’s mostly mourvèdre (known as monastrell), with syrah, cabernet sauvignon and petit verdot. This big wine has red berry and spicy character with hints of cedar, vanilla and spice. $17. ♦♦♦♦ 1/2
You also can find many fine red wines from the small region of Priorat.
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