Since my first trip to Spain, too many years ago, I have loved the variety of Spanish wines, from the crisp Albarinho, to the great wines of Ribera del Duero. In the past Spanish wines could be seen as unexciting and traditional. However, since we first opened our store in Enfield in 1999, there has been a dramatic rise in the quality, along with an explosion in styles from Spain.
However, call me a traditionalist (or is it the love of a good steak?), but I keep coming back to Rioja. My personal favourite is the Coto de Imaz, Reserva 2004, recently voted best Rioja of the year by Wine & Spirit magazine.
The Coto de Imaz Reserva is predominantly Tempranillo with a dollop of Graciano aged for 18 months in American oak. It is dark ruby red with a fragrant nose that jumps from the glass. Gorgeous now, but has enough structure to evolve for several years. It’s a great match for red meat or game.
A good mid week alternative is the El Coto crianza, one of the top selling wines in Spain, enjoyed by all at this year’s off-licence of the year awards. It is superb, with excellent fruit character and good oak integration.
For the odd freak sunny day that you do get a chance to sit in your back garden, the El Coto Rosado (50:50 Tempranillo: Garnacha) offers delicious flavours of red fruit, primarily strawberry; or try the El Coto Blanco (100% Viura) with citrus notes and green apples. Both excellent examples of how the latest technology and an utmost care can preserve the characteristic aroma of the native grapes.
Finally, if your heart is warm with happiness, you will need a glass; if this recession is getting you down, have two.