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Thursday Night Club - 29th April - olé!

Yes, you guessed it, a Spanish theme tonight. A seemingly easy theme, until you try to decide what to show and realise just how many incredible styles of wine there are in Spain! From classic Rioja, to fortified sherry, traditional method cava to crisp Rueda, there is almost too much choice! We did end up largely clustered around Rioja, but generally with something a little different, underscoring how much innovation there is even in their most classic of regions.

Lets start classic and get progressively quirkier shall we?! The Morum Rioja Reserva 2015 is 100% Tempranillo, Rioja’s most famous grape. Incredibly fruity with rich blackcurrant, spice and hints of cigar tobacco. Rich tannins add structure while the American oak contributes notes of vanilla and chocolate. It has such a beautiful nose they could smell it all day! Naked Wines £11

Generally the red wines of Rioja are based on Tempranillo with small amounts of Graciano and Mazuelo blended in. so the next Rioja is rather unusual as it is 100% Graciano; the Contino Graciano 2009, Rioja. Usually Graciano contributes structure and ageability to the wine, so it was intriguing to hear what it might be like on its own. Beautiful was the answer! Cherry crumble with bright, shiny fruit, subtle, smooth tannins and a still intense and youthful colour. This is an impressive wine, and will continue to age well. It was originally from The Wine Society £30

To complete the trilogy I had bought the final component of the blend, a 100% Mazuelo from Rioja! The Found Mazuelo 2019, Rioja is an equally unusual wine in its rarity as a single variety wine. Elegant tannins and vibrant blackcurrants, a peppery spice and a hint of woodsmoke. The palate has plush blueberries and a pronounced acidity which calls out for a juicy piece of lamb, though a touch more challenging to drink on its own. Interesting, delicious and great value. M&S £8.50

A much overlooked wine from Rioja is white Rioja. First up we had the Marques de Murrieta Capellenia 2015, Rioja. It is made from 100% Viura and aged in oak barrels. White Rioja was served at his wedding so always has a special place in his heart. He has allowed this bottle to warm up a touch and it has really allowed the aromatics to open up. He loves the smell, hints of olive and almonds, complimented by a creamy palate with oak spice. Elegant and refined with a bright acidity and a lovely alternative to white Burgundy. The Wine Society £19.50

Another white Rioja followed, this time the Remirez de Ganuza Erre Punto 2011, Rioja. This is a sensational wine, now the colour of olive oil, and a similar savoury character on the palate along with hints of seaweed, rich, intense stone fruit and sweet brown spice from the French oak. This example is 70% Viura and 30% Malvasia. Stunning! Decantalo £18

Detouring out of Rioja to the coastal region of Galicia the next wine is the Mara Godello 2019, Galicia. Not too familiar with the grape they were keen to experiment with a mixed case. Nice if not that exciting with an attractive salinity, minerality and grapefruit pith. It came into its own with food (cod with a chorizo vinaigrette) which really allowed the fruit and freshness to come to the fore. It is a bit like the love child between pinot grigio and Sauvignon Blanc. A nice wine but not one they would seek out. Hay Wines £14

Next we head to the island of Tenerife for a red wine from those Volcanic soils. The Suertes del Marques 7 Fuentes 2017, Tenerife which is made from the Listan Negro grape. She loves this wine and has visited the producer and their incredible pre-phylloxera ungrafted vines which are over 100 years old. This is like a spicy and exotic take on Pinot Noir. The palate is super clean and fresh with a delicious smokiness and salinity. Absolutely banging! Roberson Wines £17

A last minute dash round the house which is surprisingly well stocked with wine revealed no Spanish wine, so we have migrated south to Portugal and the litre bottle of Niepoort Nat Cool Branco 2019, Vinho Verde. This describes itself as ‘cool and funky’ and the funk is instantly apparent, the cool.. well the jury is out. A natural wine that is tasting a little more like cider than she was hoping for. Definitely interesting but not quite hitting the spot. Philglas & Swiggot £21

And finally, despite having picked out the perfect Spanish wine (a dry, unfortified Palmonio) he was sadly still stuck on the train. However, despite not having any glasses, he had just been at a wine tasting and had one of the open bottles with him… a surreptitious gulp out of the bottle beneath the mask (nice!) and he introduced us to the Quady Essensia Orange Muscat 2016, Central Valley, California a sweet fortified wine from California showing rich, sweet apricots and spice and a winner with chocolate tart… his eyes looked very happy so we can assume its two big thumbs up for this wine! Corney & Barrow £13.20 for a half bottle

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