Spain has become the worst European country affected by the coronavirus after Italy. And the wine industry everywhere, not just in these countries, will suffer the consequences, whether it is to be able to work in the vineyards or to sell wines to restaurants.
Choosing a country might sound perverse, but Spanish wines, and especially rioja and sherry, are some of the most loved and readily available in this country and I will be back to other hard-hit countries including our wine industry. national. , in the coming weeks.
And, as I said last week in my Italian wine column, the easiest and most effective thing wine lovers can do to support the industry at home and abroad is to keep going. to research our favorite wines on our trips to the supermarket – and yes, contrary to the belief of some, there is no law preventing us from buying alcohol – or through online outfits and local wine shops who are ready and eager for our business.
And remember, in moderation, it’s good for our souls. Here is a list of online wine merchants and wineries that still deliver wine, compiled by colleagues from The independent. But keep in mind that some companies are struggling to keep pace with orders due to staff shortages and social distancing rules.
Now that the clocks have moved back, we have lighter evenings, although not yet particularly warm, that remind me of a fresh sherry for an appetizer with nuts or tapas. Crisp, dry sherry is one of the best deals. the Gonzalez Byass Delicado Fino (50 cl 14,49 â¬ waitrose.com) is a fino of limited production from barrels with a substantial layer of “flor”, the yeast that forms on top of the wine, offering real depth of flavor. Manzanilla is essentially a fino that has a distinctive salty flavor as it is made near the sea in Sanlucar de Barrameda. For a good example of the style, try the wonderfully clean and refreshing Valdespino Manzanilla Deliciosa (Â£ 13.95 thewhiskyexchange.com). Both are magnificent wines that embellish life, so skip the anchovies or the tomato bread …
Judging from the flurries this week, we’re not quite in the spring whites zone yet, so albarinos in northwestern Spain can wait for the spring whites column later this month. -this. Instead, we leave for La Rioja for more substantial dishes such as the Bodegas Navajas Blanco Crianza 2015 (Â£ 9.95; Â£ 11.14 winebuyers.com) made from the Viura grape in the heart of La Rioja. There is some youthful freshness, but a wider, creamier depth in the wine from oak barrel aging – think lemony and vegetal notes and a good pairing with a simple grilled white fish. One of the big names in red rioja is the CVNE cellar, but it also produces excellent whites, such as the CVNE Blanco Fermented Barrel Rioja 2018 (Â£ 11.20 tanners-wines.co.uk). It is mainly viura with a little macebeo, and is fermented in barrels to add complexity: the palate is full, ripe and round. Serve it with hearty fish or vegetable dishes.
By staying at the CVNE, the CVNE Rioja Gran Reserva 2013 (Â£ 18.95 winedirect.fr) is an excellent example of a benchmark red rioja, composed mainly of tempranillo, with some graciano and mazuelo. Rich and complex, with flavors of blackberry and cassis, tarry, woody, smoky notes and a characteristic touch of vanilla: one for a nice casserole or a warming tart on those cold April evenings.
And if you are planning a house party of some sort – a birthday or anniversary – as a treat to lighten up the current mood, then a special occasion large bottle would be the right one. Roda 1 Reserve 2013 (Â£ 47.60 thedrinkshop.com). It’s powerful but not too heavy, elegant with silky black fruit and has hints of lightly smoky vanilla and a long long finish. This is top quality rioja.
But there are great red wines produced in many other regions of Spain, such as Ribera Del Duero. Organic Dominio Basconcillos 2016 (Â£ 17.50 (vintageroots.co.uk) is a big, rich, ripe and heavy ribera, based on tempranillo and with a hint of fresh acidity that makes the mixture rise. A simple steak would be ideal.
And there are other Spanish grape varieties, like bobal, which has come out of obscurity in recent years in good-value wines like organic. Extreme Bobal 2018 (Â£ 10 at co-op stores only). This is an excellent complement to the cooperative’s offer of âgreen winesâ, made in the Valencia region from grapes grown at high altitude. It’s juicy, medium-bodied, with succulent crunchy black cherries and a perfect match with chicken and vegetable dishes, goat cheese and cold cuts; if you like the heavier Beaujolais Villages wines, you’ll like this one.
At the other end of the scale, the bobal mixed with monastrell grapes creates something much more full-bodied in the 1721 Baron Amarillo 80 Year Old Vine 2016 (Â£ 6.99 aldi.co.uk; in store this month) which is dark chocolate and cherry and fantastic to accompany casseroles or grilled meats. And at a price that should lift our spirits through tough times.