Great Values from Spain and Portugal

This week we will sample a variety of wine from Spain and Portugal, from various regions. Altogether there will be two whites and four reds.

Four of the wines are imported by Vino Cava Specialty Wine Imports, the other two by Grapes of Spain and Bourgeois Family Selections:

Vino Cava is owned by Michael Cava and is “headquartered in the suburbs of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Vino Cava’s portfolio is centered on unique, high-quality wines from across the Iberian Peninsula. All of our wines are hand-selected, with a focus on introducing and building new brands from emerging regions throughout Spain and Portugal, as well as from classic areas in these countries. Many of the wines we represent are from small-production, family-owned wineries that focus on quality above all else. These family wineries take great pride in the wine they produce, and this pride is evident in every glass.”

Grapes of Spain “was established in November 2001, with its first container landing in the United States in Spring 2002, representing 8 producers. The company imports wines exclusively from Spain and currently represents 36 producers with a portfolio of 90+ wines from all corners of Spain. All of the wines are new to the U.S. market and are from family winegrowers and that focus only on high quality and limited production. The Company’s temperature-controlled warehouse is located in Lorton, Virginia and all the wines are shipped from Spain to the warehouse in refrigerated containers. Our wines are currently represented in twenty-five states and the District of Columbia.”

Bourgeois Family Selections is owned by friend of Spirits, Jean-Philippe Bourgeois. “We put the spotlight where it belongs, on the terroir that generations of the same family have toiled, the handpicked grapes, wine lovingly made with the knowledge handed down father to son, since time immemorial. Jean-Philippe is a sixth generation legacy in the beer, wine and spirits industry in his native country [France]… Our goal is to bring you the most exciting undiscovered gems of the old world; beautiful, passionately hand made wines, never before available in the US market. Our mission is straightforward: to empower our small estate producers from emerging regions as well as ancestral regions, which we feel represent the absolute best of the best, to market these wines with diligence and honor within the US and abroad and to make our wines approachable and great values to the American consumer.”

Quinta do Casal Branco- “Jose Lobo de Vasconcellos’ family built their winery over 200 years ago on their large estate on the south bank of the Tejo River. Jose renovated the winery in 2003 and has continued his family’s wine making tradition on the estate where he also breeds famous Lusitano horses. Casal Branco still uses traditional old ‘lagares’ to crush the grapes for their finest red wines, while using modern technology to control quality in all aspects of wine production. Casal Branco produces their wines from the traditional grapes of the Ribatejo area, and is also experimenting with international varieties.”

Capoeira whiteQuinta do Casal Branco Capoeira Branco 2011– Tejo (a.k.a. Ribatejano), Portugal. A blend of 60% Fernao Pires and 40% Sauvignon Blanc. “Color: Bright pale lemon. Nose: Perfumed mix of floral, apple, citrus and tropical fruit aromas. Palate: Lively in the mouth, with apple and tropical fruit flavors, fresh acidity and nice balance. Included in Robert Parker’s book Wine Bargains: The World’s Best Wine Values under $25.” Jen’s note- Pale yellow in color. Mild/friendly nose of stonefruit, peach and citrus. Juicy entry; lively acid. Clean, long, textured. Imported by Vino Cava. $8.99

Capoeira tintoQuinta do Casal Branco Capoeira Tinto 2010– Tejo (a.k.a. Ribatejano), Portugal. A blend of Castelão (native Portuguese grape, same as Periquita) and Cabernet Sauvignon. “Color: Bright ruby. Nose: Pleasant aromas of spicy red and black fruit mingled with eucalyptus. Palate: Soft, fruity, and rich, with well-balanced acidity and a persistent finish. Unoaked, easy-drinking delicious young red.” Jen’s note- Garnet/brick red in color; somewhat cloudy, almost opaque. Deep nose of dark, briary, sweet fruit. Friendly and dry. Good. Imported by Vino Cava. $8.99

Egeo is part of Isaac Fernandez Selection, “the newest venture of the famous winemaker, Isaac Fernandez, who has spent more than 25 years producing some of the best wines in northern Spain. He seeks to respect the identity of each vineyard and to nurture wines that balance power, finesse and purity with the capacity to age.”

egeo verdejoEgeo 2011– Rueda, Spain. 100% Verdejo. “This wine is produced by Isaac Fernandez in partnership with a winery whose modern day operations began in 1941. The winery is located in the heart of Rueda just south of the Duero river and has over 80 hectares of vineyards. After harvesting the grapes are destemmed and undergo a pre-crush cold maceration for several hours. A gentle press is followed by a slow, temperature controlled (max temperature is 17° C) in stainless steel tanks.” Jen’s note- Fresh nose, bright and lively. Aromatic lemon and fresh flowers. Good texture/good value. Imported by Grapes of Spain. $12.99

Chispas, produced by the Covinca Co-operative, is made in the Carinena DOC “the largest of the four DO zones of the Aragón region, Cariñena is the name of both the region and a grape variety that is more commonly found in France. Garnacha is the most widely planted red grape here, accounting for 55% of Cariñena vineyards. This region, which is one of the oldest demarcated growing areas in Europe, has a continental climate, with extremely hot summers and bitterly cold winters. The “cierzo”, a cold northerly wind, helps to keep the humidity low.”

chispas garnachaChispas Garnacha Tinto 2011– Carinena, Spain. 100% old-vine Garnacha (a.k.a. Grenache). “Color: Bright ruby. Nose: Ripe red fruit, strawberry, black pepper. Palate: Rich and soft, highlighted by red fruit and licorice, with soft, smooth tannins.” Jen’s note- Brick/garnet red in color. Pretty nose of candied fruits, savory smoke and spice undertones. Juicy, friendly, approachable with nice freshness and balance. Imported by Vino Cava. $8.99

Bodega el Angosto “is in a grand ole Valencian farm-cum-manor house, Finca Santa Rosa, in the Vall d’Albaida near Ontinyent, just the Valencia side of Alicante. It belongs to the Cambra family, who have a 150 year-old nursery business which this is part of, and offers a fascinating glimpse into rural life of yesteryear, as a place where all of the agricultural process was concentrated in one place.” “Angosto Cellar belongs to the Cambra family. [The] vineyards are placed in two estates: Finca Santa Rosa and Finca el Angosto. They are mainly slope lands, sandy structure, poor in organic matter and with high levels of limestone. Our aim is to produce high quality Mediterranean wines concentrated and elegant, trying to reflect the best of our soils.”

barranc del rei monastrellBodega Angosto Barranc del Rei Monastrell 2011– Valencia, Spain. 100% Monastrell (a.k.a. Mourvedre). “Superbly crafted layers of sweet fruit and ripe tannins, rounded by a natural freshness that lingers long past the first sip… Cherry aromas, a touch baked, but the medium-bodied palate isn’t dull or heavy, while the flavors of raspberry and plum are driving and feature some creaminess. A basic but solid wine for the money.” Jen’s note- Deep magenta/pretty garnet in color with a nose of sweet leather and ripe black and blue fruits. Juicy, substantial and textured with a long finish. Great value. Imported by Vino Cava. $8.99

Bodegas Latue “began as San Isidro Cooperative in 1954. At that time 131 winegrowers were determined to produce wines to become commercialized over Spanish territories. Their commitment was demonstrated by maintaining regular attention to the vineyards and prioritizing product outcome with work needed regardless of the weather or geopolitical conditions. Between 1954 and 2007, the Cooperative membership grew to more than 600 experienced vine growers focused on preserving the integrity of producing quality products. With the increased demand for their products, more than 50 years of experience and the growth of a great human team, in 2007 San Isidro implemented an “export” business model… In 2007, with growing interest in its products in wider international markets, San Isidro Cooperative added “Bodegas Latúe” to its organizational title. This name represents the quality and environmental care that is a historical way of Bodegas Latúe doing business with international companies.”

latue tempranilloBodegas Latue Tempranillo 2011– Toledo, La Mancha, Spain. “100% Tempranillo from organically grown grapes, aged in stainless steel tanks for 6 months. A bright red color with a purple hue. On the nose, this wine offers aromas of cherry and wild red fruits. A well balanced and easy to drink wine that will compliment all your meals. Aged in stainless steel tanks to preserve the fruits and freshness.” Jen’s note- Deep purple/magenta in color with a pretty nose of ripe and freshly-picked berry fruit. The palate offers tangy acid and nice freshness. Good value. $8.99

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