Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Iberia Flying High

Iberia Flying High

The winemakers of Portugal and Spain certainly seem to be coming up with the goods nowadays. From Portugal, I’ve tasted some really good wines from the DAO recently along with a popular port while Spain has more than pleased with a Tempranillo from La Rioja Alta region and, not for the first time, with the Arana Rioja Reserva from the winery in Haro that bears the same name as the region.

Lagrimas de Maria, La Rioja Alta Crianza 2010, 14.5%, €13.99, stockists
This is one hundred per cent Tempranillo and made in the heart of La Rioja Alta. It spent 12 months in oak and the winemaker is Maria Martinez Maria whose hand writing appears on the labels.

Colour is a dark cherry red with aromas of forest fruits. This is Tempranillo at quite a high level, fruit for sure and hints of the oak but really well balanced and an excellent dry finish. No need for the tears, Maria. Highly Recommended.

Flor de Viseu Selection (red), DAO 2009, 13%, €12.99, stockists.
Colour is ruby red and the aromas, of moderate intensity, are those of red fruit. Red fruit also on the palate and slight spice, freshness and sufficient acidity present, and it finishes dry.

Grapes used are Tourigo National and Alfrocheiro. Should go well with red meat and cheese.

The flower on the label symbolises the thistle flower found locally. But nothing spiky about this rather smooth red wine. Highly recommended.

Viña Arana Rioja Reserva, 2004 La Rioja Alta
This wine, by the winery that bears the same name as the region, is a favourite of mine. But I am not alone. The Los Angeles Times Food section recently made it their Wine of the Week and you may read their take on it here. 

Ferreira Late Bottled Vintage Port 2007
Bought this bottle in the Basque Country last summer and it took me until now to get around to it. Don’t think I’ve seen it on sale in Ireland but Ferreira is a huge port exporter. Indeed, according to Hugh Johnson’s 2012 pocket wine book, they are the leading Portuguese owned Port shipper and “the best selling brand in Portugal”.

This is quite a gem, with beautiful flavours, great balance and a tremendous finish. Picked it up out of curiosity and it didn’t kill me. Read more about Ferreira, which is over 250 years old, here. 

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