Se Habla Español   5 comments

“Writing in Spanish, however, will cost you extra.”

Hanging with some Spanish friends last night with the intention of consuming copious amounts of paella, we had three great little wines that are worthy of recommendation.  Now before any of you start to tell me that any REAL self-respecting Spaniard would never have paella for dinner, let me state that they were even quicker to point out to us that paella is a midday meal.  But that given we were “Americans”, they broke with tradition in our honor.  Isn’t that wonderful, our mere presence caused them to overlook who they were for an evening.  Damn good paella– midday, dinner, whatever! 

Well, they almost overlooked who they were.  Normally, most of my daily conversation takes place in English.  But last night there was hardly any of that.  And that made it a truly wonderful evening since these friends were able to converse in their native Castilian.  My spanish is serviceable– in fact I am fairly fluent– but I do not often have the opportunity to converse exclusively in this language.  Thus, there were moments when the conversation was just too fast y furioso.  The Spanish wines definitely helped as they slowed down the rapidity of their delivery in the mother tongue. 

Herewith my saviors: A Godello from Bierzo, which is a tremendous value.  Look for it in this week’s NGW, and two reds from a favorite appellation: Priorato.  Grown in a granite based schist known locally as Llicorella, which imparts a distinctiveness of flavors and a because of its ability to drain extremely well forces the vines to struggle and therefore produce more concentrated fruit, these are wines worth seeking out.

 The wine region Priorat - Llicorella

Alvaro Palacios Camins del Priorat 2009Alvaro Palacios Camins del Priorat 2009  ($18).  This is a starter wine from Priorat from a very respected producer.    Tasty dark fruit that finished with a slightly acidic edge.  Although simply fine, I did not find this effort to be as strong as the 2007.  It was however a nice opening act to the Martinet Bru.  Rated ** 1/2

Mas Martinet Viticultors – Martinet Bru Priorat 2007 ($30).  An excellent dose of concentration, dark fruit and earth in a beautiful expression of the marriage between Garnacha and Syrah found here.  All of that preceded by a worthy nose filled with floral and spice aromas.  And this from a vintage that is generally not considered to be the best (e.g. Very Good vs. Excellent).  In a good vintage this would probably be priced much higher.  This is a neat effort from winemaker Sara Pérez that’s worth seeking out.  Rated ***1/2

Se habla Catalan? Click this photo and find out!

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Posted February 25, 2012 by Sybarite Sauvage in Food-Wine-Love

5 responses to “Se Habla Español

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  1. Yum! Priorat is my favorite wine from Spain! Nice pictures too.

  2. Yeah, I love the way her hands speak.
    SS, as I, a newbie, I began experimenting with Spanish wines, i quickly discovered that “Priorat is my favorite wine from Spain!” Later I was to come across a wine “Expert” who informed his readers that if you like Zinfandel (My first wine love was Zin.) you’ll love Prioat. Now that spoke volumes to me, because as is often the case wine “Experts” will try and tell you what to drink, what’s good, and just how to conform, and here I was naturally gravitating to my own palate. I tell people to experiment, to explore different wines so as to discover what they naturally like; without tasting “you’ll” never know.
    Thanks for the links,
    Dennis

    • It’s funny– I never made the connection between Zins which BTW can vary in style from the riper higher alcohol DCV Zins to the Italian Primitivo style (which I sometimes find a bit cloying) and two the birthplace of zin– Czech. Too me the wines of Priorat– which owe a great deal to garnacha and some French varietals in combination with the incredible uniqueness of that place– are in a class all their own. So I just can’t fathom the connection between the two. One thing that does resonate with me however, is your statement regarding your own palate and consciously tasting as much as you can to develop that palate.

      As for Sara– she is a ball of fire. I confess, I can’t understand everything she says in that video, but what I do get makes me want to taste more!

  3. SS, sometime ago I said in a review: “2005 Ferrer Bobet Priorat Red wine (53% Carignane 35% Garnacha, 7% Syrah, and 5% Cabernet Sauvignon) is a beautifully aromatic youthful wine of royal purple color, medium bodied, early palate (Enticingly) gentle and late palate pepper morphing into a finish of spicy effluence. The 2005 Ferrer Bobet Priorat, is not going to knock you over, but is restrained and mature, pure palate pleasure, stand alone or with almost any cuisine.” I would say that there’s plenty of Zinfandel characteristic here, but we all have our own taste. I hope I could tell the difference between the two wines, but you never know: I once had a Merlot I swore was a Zinfandel!
    Be good,
    Dennis

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