Sample the vineyards of Spain with these fruity, fizzy delights | Alistair Gibson

There is no doubt, when looking over my recent tasting notes, that Spain is very much flavour of the month.

Thursday, 14th October 2021, 4:29 pm
Updated Thursday, 14th October 2021, 4:29 pm
XECO Fino

On every one of my recent ‘online’ tastings with an array of Spanish producers, each was a reminder that Spain really is, in my opinion, the most exciting wine-producing country in Europe right now.

It offers some indigenous grape varieties that have not taken root elsewhere, there is a whole range of wine styles and there are still some great values to be found.

If you were to look in my fridge you would never fail to find a bottle of sherry, one of the world’s greatest wine bargains. It never ceases to amaze me that it is not more widely appreciated.

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To be fair, off the back of the current interest in Spanish food, in particular tapas-style dishes, it is becoming increasingly available on wine shelves and restaurant lists.

Xeco is a new sherry brand attempting to bring sherry out from your grandma’s dusty old drinks cabinet and give it a fresh look and appeal. Xeco Fino (xecowines.com £12.99 50cl, masterofmalt.com £16.63 75cl) comes in a square shouldered, clear bottle with a stylish label, no dust here! The nose offers some savoury and floral notes, the palate is bone dry with crisp acidity and a long, savoury finish. Delicious with garlic prawns or a bowl of olives, you could even add ice or tonic and pretend to be in southern Spain.

For many, cava almost gets as poor a press as sherry, mainly due to the largely uninspiring brands that line the supermarket shelves. But trade up a little and you maybe surprised. Bodegas Sumarroca Gran Reserva Brut Nature 2017, Cava (borderswines.co.uk £15.99) is a blend of the traditional c ava varieties – x arel-lo, macabeu and parellada – and has benefitted from at least 36 months’ ageing before release. There are aromas of orchard fruits, fresh bread and a sprinkling of lemon sherbet. The palate is fresh and lively with some real complexity and a long, dry finish. This really is great value, top quality sparkling wine.

Albariño has taken on the role of Spain’s signature white grape variety in recent years. It is difficult to find a restaurant that doesn’t list it now and it is the perfect seafood wine. Tesco Finest Vinas Del Rey Albariño 2020, Rias Baixas (Tesco £9) is an excellent introduction to this Galician grape. Fresh with citrus, green apples and just a hint of tropical fruits on the nose, there is some richness on the palate as well as zesty acidity and a mouthwatering finish. Try this with grilled fish or seafood paella.

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