MOVIES & BOOZE: Fancy a tipple this weekend?

Jean Smullen reviews “new style” Spanish wines priced under a tenner


Today on Movies & Booze we are looking at Spanish wine. Spain is really hitting all the spots with the Irish wine drinker these days. Spain is producing some of the most innovative wines at the moment and today we’re going to look at some of the “new style” Spanish wines and regions and show two great wines, both priced at under €10.00.

2013 Ars in Vitro Tandem DO Navarra €14.95 (on offer €10.00)

Stockists: O’Briens Wines Beers Spirits - Ashbourne; Athlone; Ballybrack; Beacon; Blanchardstown; Bray; Carlow; Carrickmines; Citiwest; Contarf; Dalkey; Donnybrook; Douglas; Drogheda; Dun Laoghaire; Galway; Glasnevin; Greystones; Limerick; Lucan; Malahide; Naas; Navan Town; Newbridge; Newpark; Rathgar; Rathmines; Sandymount; Stillorgan and Templeogue. Look out for their brand new 33rd shop in Nugrove which opened two weeks ago.

Ars in Vitro in latin means “art in glass or in bottle”

This wine is made by a small producer from the Navarre region José María Fraile of Tandem. This is a modern Spanish wine style, the indigenous grape Tempranillo is blended with a French grape, Merlot. The fruit is grown in the Yerri Valley in Navarra. The Yerri Valley is located in the north of the Navarra Denomination of Origen on its north-western boundary. Situated between Bordeaux and La Rioja, just a step away from the Pyrenees and the Atlantic Ocean.

The Spanish province of Navarra is a mountainous region between the Pyrenees (to the North) and the River Ebro (in Rioja). The capital is Pamplona. There are two major wine region in the Province, DO Navarra and DOCa Rioja (the districts adjacent to the Rioja Baja region). This is a warm region and makes aged Spanish wine styles that are similar to those found in Rioja but at a much more competitive price.

Garnacha was originally the key red grape in the region, but during the 1990’s they replanted with Tempranillo. Tempranillo the finesse and aromatic qualities of this red grape make it the star of the Spanish red varieties. This wine is a blend of 90% Tempranillo and 10% Merlot.

This is modern Spanish wine making. Compañía Vitivinícola Tandem was founded in January 2003.
Tasting note

Lovely mineral charachter, with intense floral aromas, with cherry and strawberry fruit. On the palate it is a fresh wine, with a nice long length and that lovely floral/fruit character showing through.
88 points Robert Parker Wine Advocate

2014 Rioja Vega Semi Crianza €9.99
Shortlisted for Noffla 2016/17 Gold Star award in the Old World under € 10 category.

Stockists: Independent Off Licences, Nationwide
Rioja is one of Spain’s best know wine regions. It is certainly one of the most popular with the Irish consumer.

When most wine drinkers think of Spanish wine they think of Rioja. Rioja was the first Spanish wine region to be demarcated as a DO in 1926.

Two mountain ranges, the Cantabria and the Pyrenees, protect the wine zones of North Central Spain, providing favourable conditions for red wine grapes. The best known of these DO zones is undoubtedly Rioja. It's vineyards are found in the southern part in la Rioja itself. The area is made up of three sub regions Alta, Alvesa and Baja.

The name of Spain's most famous red wine comes from the region of La Rioja. The first part of the regional name comes from Rio, Spanish for river and the name of the river from which the name's second half derives is the River Oja.

Rioja Vega is a “new style” Rioja wine; the Semi Crianza classification, is not an official one but more and more it being used by wineries in Rioja. What is does it to define the period time the wine is aged, in this case slightly less than the normal rules for a Crianza wine. This particular wine has had 6 to 8 months in American Oak and 1 year in bottle before release. A Crianza wine must have had a minimum of two year's ageing, whether in tank, barrel or bottle with a minimum of six months in oak.

Rioja Vega Tempranillo is technically a vino joven (young wine) under the DOCa rules for the Rioja region. The style that the producer is aiming for is less oak ageing and more fruit character, so it is to all effects a more modern style of Rioja.

This is not your atypical vanilla bomb Spanish wine style, so loved by Rioja fans but is a lighter style with more obvious balanced tannins than traditional red Rioja wines. Perfect for pairing with meat. An absolute cracker at this price, offering really good value for money.

WINE DIARY
Look out for the ely Big Wine Tasting tonight at ely IFSC. Mitchell & Sons will be starting an Irish Whiskey Course on Oct 5th also in the IFSC. Wines of Lebanon will be holding a Lebanese Wine Tasting on Wed 26th October at On the Grapevine in Dalkey. Also don’t miss the SPIT (Specialist Professional Independent Tasting in Smock Alley on Oct 13th which is also open to the public. More details on www.jeansmullen.com