10 + 2 Great Classic Wines of Spain

Gerry DawesGerry Dawes
We asked Gerry Dawes (http://www.gerrydawesspain.blogspot.com), renowned writer, wine guide, and expert on all things Spanish (but especially food and drink) to recommend 10 classic Spanish wines for the utter novice—the one who’s seldom had a Spanish wine and hasn’t a clue how great they can be. Gerry said he couldn’t do 10, it would have to be 12. Entonces:

  1. Raventos i Blanc Brut Cava: A crisp, superb methode champenoise sparkling wine from Cataluña that is on a par with many Champagnes; great with tapas, Asian food.
  2. La Gitana Manzanilla Sherry: Light, ethereal and dry with a whiff of the ocean; a tapas and shellfish wine por excelencia.
  3. Fillaboa Albariño, Rías Baixas: White flowers and pears, but dry with a fine mineral terroir finish that makes it a great match for any dish calling for a great white wine.
  4. Val de Sil Montenovo Godello, Valdeorras: An introduction to a little-known Galician variety tha is one of the five greatest white wine grapes in the world; great shellfish, tapas, cocina moderna companion.
  5. Miguel Torres Fransola (Sauvignon Blanc/Parellada), Penedès: Spain's greatest Sauvignon Blanc, better balanced than most from California, weightier than most from the Loire; cheeses, grilled fish, rice dishes like paella, Chinese and India food.
  6. Martinsancho Verdejo, Rueda: A real sleeper that begins to haunt with minerals in the second glass; ewe's milk cheeses, seafood pasta, pork.
  7. Julián Chivite Garnacha Rosado, Navarra: Pretty as a ruby, dry, delicious, cold wine that is incredibly versatile with food; pizza, sushi, tapas and most appetizers for sure, but a good all around mate through the whole meal.
  8. Pucho Mencia, Bierzo: Rich, not overoaked and with the magical marriage of Atlantic climate Mencia and slate minerality: grilled meats, game, cheeses, pasta.
  9. Viña Pedrosa Reserva, Ribera del Duero: Serious as a fine Bordeaux, but with tinto fino/tempranillo grapes grown at high elevations; superb cool with rib lamb chops grilled over vine cuttings, grilled meats, pasta, ewe's milk cheeses.
  10. Bodegas Riojanos Viña Albina Reserva, La Rioja: Remember the great balance of clarets from Bordeaux? Here it is with lovely tempranillo, mazuelo and graciano, reasonable alcohol and oak; game dishes, fine modern cuisine dishes with a focus.
  11. Álvaro Palacios Les Terrasses, Priorat: A gutsy, but beautifully balanced blend of garnacha, cariñena and cabernet sauvignon; for big wine enthusiasts, great with steak, grilled rabbit with allioli, rice dishes.
  12. Casta Diva Cosecha Miel Muscat, Alicante: Dessert in a glass, but with good balance, this moscato de Alejandria is good with crema catalana (crême brulée), almond desserts, cookies, blue cheeses.
© 2018 The Culinary Institute of America