Greetings to all of you. My name is Peter Wallbridge and over the coming months I’m going to tell you a little bit about the fantastic wines available to you from your great local wine shops. But first, to introduce myself…
I have a Bsc (Hons) Oenology & Viticulture (Winemaking and Grapegrowing to you and I) and have been making wine in France, Australia, the UK and of course Spain – both La Rioja and Malaga. Last year I had a thesis published in the American Journal of Enology & Viticulture but now am looking to start writing in a more informal manner. So enough about me and onto the important stuff…vino!
I wanted to start by explaining the benefits of a good wine merchant over the local supemarkets where the allure of special offers can often be hard to deny. And why should it? If they stock a particular wine you like and its cheaper than you’ll find elsewhere, great. But equally wine (like music or art) has the ability to be so much more than this. Yes, the supermarkets stock the cheap copies of the Mona Lisa or the Waterlillies, but what I’m after are the new, exciting, artisanal producers that often don’t produce the huge quantities needed to satisfy these big buyers. Instead they are found perched on the shelves of good quality local wine shops.
Personally, living in Torre del Mar, my favourite local wine shop is Vinomar on Calle Piscis run by the lovely Carmen. She is so full of knowledge and enthusiasm and her shelves are positively brimming with wines from all over Spain including some of the lesser known and hard to find regions. For example, I’m sure most of you have come across the wines of the Ribera Del Duero or possibly the Rueda and I’ll guarantee you have all bumped into our old friend Mr Rioja but, what of Señor Cigales, the magnificent and underated wine producing region just north of Valladolid? Cigales is generally thought of as a producer of Rose, not suprising as it is nestled neatly between Rueda (land of white) and the Ribera Del Duero (home to the mighty Reds). But with the introduction of Stainless Steel and modern winemaking techniques focus has turned to production of good quality red wine, encouraged further by the relatively cheap land prices when compared to the neighboring Ribera and not to mention the ideal soil type for the native Tempranillo grapevine (or Tinta del Pais as it is known locally).
A fine example of these wines would be those of Bodegas Museum. They are using a great combination of harvesting very old vineyards yielding low quantities of ultra high quality fruit and processing them using very modern winemaking practices. This culminates in wines of great structure and balance, rich in both fruit and oak character. In the next issue, I will share with you my own thoughts on both the Museum Crianza and the Museum Real Reserva, but in the meantime, why not pop down to Vinomar and try a bottle or two for yourself and see what you think. I guarantee you will not be disappointed.
YUM YUM SPAIN SOURCE: OCIO MAGAZINE
DATE: March 2011
Words: Peter Wallbridge