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Max’s Wine Dive – Le Tour Du Vin #2 – Spain

Hola! ¿Qué tal amigos?

I am so excited for 6:30pm to roll around (Central US time that is :P)


It has been two weeks since the last Max’s Wine Dive’s “Le Tour Du Vin” wine tasting. Today is their third of six in this wine tasting series and the theme of this evening is going to be … France!! But before we get ahead of ourselves, I know you want a recap of the second Le Tour Du Vin wine tasting (in case you missed it, the recap of the first one can be found here). The country theme of that second wine tasting was Spain and boy was it sabroso!!

The word really got out about this wine tasting series because the crowd at this second event was triple in size compared to their first one. They even had to stop selling tickets to enter the tasting area because the event was beyond full. We were squeezed in like Spanish olives in a jar :)

But you know, if you have to be stuck in the middle of a crowd, it might as well be a wine tasting crowd!

In addition to the wine tasting, Max’s cooks up some delicious appetizers according to the country. You can guess that for the Spanish theme, the appetizers were an array of Spanish tapas!

We had Spanish tortilla, pork stuffed peppers, Spanish chorizo, Spanish cheese try, croquetas, marinates olives, and salmon tartare. YUMM! And on a funny side note, you see this lovely little tray of tapas I am holding in the photo? Well I spent the better part of the wine tasting prancing around with my little tray of tapas without eating a bite. And why would I do that? Well because this Sipper learned her lesson at the first tasting. At the first tasting I went around tasting all the wines first (I wanted to keep my palate clean for wine tasting and not have it changed by the food) but by the time I finished wine tasting … all of the food was gone :( Well not this time. I decided to take a break in wine tasting, gather a sample of all the tapas, and keep them on my plate until I was done wine tasting. I felt so proud of myself for resisting until the end. I can’t tell you how many times I wanted to dive right into my pork stuffed red pepper, but I needed to maintain as clean a palate as I could for the wine tasting. Towards the end when all the appetizers were running out, I began receiving stares from people who wanted to steal the tapas off my plate, but I gave them the evil Spanish eye and told them to back off or I would have to curse them with ojos! And if you don’t know what ojos are … you’re better off not knowing, just know you don’t want them :P

So on the part of the evening I kept my palate clean for, the vino! I enjoyed this tasting a lot for three main reasons. First reason – because Spanish wine is the bomb-diggity. Second reason – because the wine tasting was set up to where we were able to taste wines from the same bodega, but one would be the more affordable wine ($15-30) and the other would be the ‘spensive one ($45-80). And don’t be giving me any grief that the ‘spensive wine is not THAT ‘spensive … I am still in my twenties, so those six figure pay checks haven’t started rolling in yet … so those wines are ‘spensive).

First on the affordable/’spensive wine list are the cavas (aka Spanish sparkling wines) from Canals & Munne in Penedes, near Barcelona in Catalunya, Spain.

The first cava we tasted was the Canals & Munne Insuperable Brut Cava ($24) made from a blend of the following grapes: 40% Macabeo, 30% Xarel-lo, and 30% Parellada. It had rich and complex flavors and aromas of light honey, baking bread, citrus, and almond, which are all due to the fact that this wine was aged on its lees (residual yeast sediment) for 25 months. This had to have been one of the best affordable cavas I have had to date.

Photo Source: www.canalsimunne.com

They did have to tease me though and offer their ‘spensive cava for tasting, the Canals & Munne Reserve Semi Rose ($45) made from an blend of 75% Monastrell (aka Mourvedre) and 25% Garnacha (aka Garnache). This pink cava was AMAZING. It is one of those wines that you bust out when you want to get your way :) Need a wine to seduce your loved one with … this one is it, lol. This wine was wonderfully complex and had a lot more richness to it that most other rose sparkling wines I have tried. It had very fine bubbles, which carried with them aromas of a bowl full strawberries, cherries, and plums, even a hint of licorice and some sort of spice and slight woody notes.  As this wine is aged for almost 3 years before being released, it has the time to form these complex and delightful aromas.

Photo Source: www.canalsimunne.com

Second of the affordable/’spensive tasting was the Bodegas Resalte de Penafiel in the Ribera del Duero region in Northern Central Spain.

First up was the Balsion Roble ($28.99) made from 100% Tempranillo grapes. It has notes of ripe black fruits, minerals, liquorice, vanilla, cocoa and spices with a medium length finish. One of those wines that tastes like it should be more expensive, gotta love those kind of wines!

Photo Source: www.patawine.com

And moving on up to their ‘spensive wine … the Balsion Reserva. Again, made from 100% Tempranillo grapes. It had a delightful complex nose of intense ripe black fruit preserves, liquorice, maple, toffee, coffee, cedar and hints of minerals. It had a beautiful balance of its fruit, acidity, and tannins and had an amazingly long finish. I felt like royalty sipping on it :)

Source: www.klwines.com


Last in this affordable/’spensive line up from the same bodegas were two wines from the Bodegas Federico Paternina located in Rioja, Spain.

The first wine we tried was the Federico Paternina Banda Azul Crianza ($28) made from the 75% Tempranillo and 25% from Garnacha and Mazuelo. It is is rich in aromas of dark cherries, vanilla, wood, and spices. The tannins are smooth and it has a wonderful lengthy finish :) If you happen to speak spanish, check out this YouTube Video of the enologist doting on his wine.

A little FYI, the word Crianza in the title of this wine above refers to the time that wine is regulated by Spanish wine law to be aged. The four most common aging designations for Spanish wines are:

  • Vino Joven (“young wine”) or sin crianza, the wines will have undergone very little, if any, wood ageing.
  • Crianza red wines are aged for 2 years with at least 6 months in oak. Crianza whites and rosés must be aged for at least 1 year with at least 6 months in oak.
  • Reserva red wines are aged for at least 3 years with at least 1 year in oak. Reserva whites and rosés must be aged for at least 2 years with at least 6 months in oak.
  • Gran Reserva wines typically appear in above average vintages with the red wines requiring at least 5 years ageing, 18 months of which in oak and a minimum of 36 months in the bottle. Gran Reserva whites and rosés must be aged for at least 4 years with at least 6 months in oak.
  • Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spanish_wine

And speaking of Gran Reservas that have been deliciously aging for so long … the ‘spensive label from Federico Paternina that we tasted was at this event was the gorgeous Conde de los Andes Tinto Gran Reserva ($50)… simply HEAVENLY! Made from Tempranillo and Mazuelo grapes, you could smell the age on this wine, subtle but unforgettable aromas of old wood, leather, vanilla and a bit of maple. I made this wine sample last as long I could … I might have used my finger to scoop out any stray drops left on the side of the glass :P

Source: www.paternina.com

To really get you in the mood, here is a YouTube video in English showing you the history, location, and wine making areas of Bodegas Federico Paternina.

I hope you enjoyed this post as much as I enjoyed the tasting … well almost as much :P There were about 10 other wines we tasted that evening, but I can’t keep you reading this post for tooo long :P

I am so excited for the French theme at Max’s Wine Dive’s “Le Tour Du Vin” tonight. It will be a nice way to remember the time I just spent in France.


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