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Spain and Portugal Fine Wine Encounter

Landmark Hotel, 222 Marylebone Road, London, NW1 6JQ


This is an annual tasting hosted by Decanter magazine which showcases some fabulous wines from Spain and Portugal.  It was held in the Ballroom and Grand Ballroom at the beautiful Landmark Hotel on February 27, 2016. 


In this article, I focus on six wineries from Spain and four from Portugal.


Let’s start with Spain:


Agusti Torelló Mata (Cava)

Winery representative: Josep Torres


Agusti Torelló Mata, Brut Reserva, Cava 2011

41% Macabeo, 22% Xarel-lo, 37% Parellada

This cava was light and refreshing, with mouth-watering acidity and lots of green apples and pears.


Agusti Torelló Mata, Gran Reserva Barrica, Cava 2010

100% Macabeo

Some of the Macabeo grapes were fermented in oak and the resulting wine was very fruity and full bodied, yet elegant, with a long finish.


Kripta, Cava 2008

45% Macabeo, 20% Xarel-lo, 35% Parellada

This cava was aged for 8 years in this fantastic bottle.  It was very full bodied, creamy and rich with hints of brioche and toast. 


Soto del Vicario (Bierzo)

Winery representative: Teresa Aguirre López-Menchero


Go de Godello, Bierzo 2015

100% Godello

This wine had a very aromatic nose, ripe green apples and pears on the palate, complementing acidity and a slightly bitter finish from the 3 months it spent in French oak.


Blanco de Tempranillo, VdT Castilla y León 2015

100% Tempranillo

This unusual white wine made from tempranillo had a pale pink hue, a touch of sweetness, refreshing acidity, ripe red fruit and a smooth lingering finish.


MEN Selección 2007

100% Mencia

This very powerful red was made from vines of between 60 - 110 years old.  It is produced in very small quantities, and whilst tasting fabulous now, will continue to improve with age.


Fillaboa (Rias Baixas)

Winery representative: Emma Jones


Fillaboa, Albariño, Rias Baixas 2014

100% Albariño

This wine was made from grapes from a single estate.  It was extremely elegant, quite complex, full bodied and had a very long finish.


Fillaboa, Finac Monte Alto Selección, Rias Baixas 2013

100% Albariño

Grapes for this wine were grown at higher altitude than the previous one and lees were stirred for 12 months.  This wine is only made in the very best years.  It was very full bodied, with good levels of acidity and excellent fruit concentration.  This wine is stunning today, yet will improve further with age.


Belondrade (Rueda)

Winery representative: Jean Belondrade


Belondrade y Lurton, Rueda 2014

100% Verdejo

This verdejo was aged for 10 months in French oak followed by 6 months in the bottle.  It was beautifully smooth and well balanced, with complementing oak and a very long finish.  Another stunning wine.


Propiedad de Arínzano (Navarra)

Winery representative: Manuel Louzada


Arínzano La Casona, Vino de Pago 2008

75% Tempranillo, 25% Merlot

Quince aromas dominated the nose of this wine, followed by ripe jammy red and black fruit and excellent acidity.


Arínzano Gran Vino, Vino de Pago 2008

100% Tempranillo

This tempranillo was full bodied, with ripe and slightly more cooked red and black fruit.  It had smoky aromas, fresh acidity and a long finish.


Arínzano Gran Vino Blanco, Vino de Pago 2010

100% Chardonnay

Had I blind tasted this wine, I would have sworn it was Burgundian!  This gorgeous Chardonnay was packed with ripe citrus, stone and tropical fruit, with complementing levels of acidity and alcohol.  It was extremely full bodied and yet will improve further with age.


Recaredo (Cava, Penedès)

Winery representative: Santi Redondo

All Recaredo cavas are aged for at least 30 months under cork, rather than crown cap.  Recaredo only use indigenous grapes in their cavas and no dosage.  Highly recommended.


Recaredo, Terrers, Cava 2009

52% Xarel-lo, 32% Macabeu, 16% Parellada

This beautiful cava was aged for 66 months and the date of disgorgement is shown on the label.  It had a very powerful aromatic nose, hints of vanilla and cream from the oak ageing, and an extremely long silky finish.


Recaredo, Finca Serral del Vell, Brut de Brut, Cava 2006

53% Xarel-lo, 47% Macabeu

Not quite as aromatic as the previous cava, this wine was full bodied, with plenty of ripe citrus and stone fruit, vanilla, cream and toast.


Moving onto Portugal:


Quinta de Chocapalha (Lisbon)

Winery representative: Sandra Tavares

It was great to have the opportunity to taste Portuguese still wines from predominantly indigenous varietals.  All of these wines were very powerful.


Quinta de Chocapalha, Cabernet Sauvignon, Lisboa 2013

100% Cabernet Sauvignon

This bold red was extremely full bodied and packed full of ripe and cooked blackcurrants and blackberries, high levels of ripe mouth-coating tannins and excellent ability to age.


Quinta de Chocapalha, Vinha Mãe, Lisboa 2012

60% Touriga Nacional, 20% Syrah, 20% Tinta Roriz

Another big, tannic beauty made predominantly from grapes traditionally used to make Port.


CH by Chocapalha, Lisboa 2012

100% old-vine Touriga Nacional

Unquestionably the star of the Chocapalha offering, this wine had it all; cooked black fruit, a great body, superb use of oak and all supported by firm ripe tannins.


Anselmo Mendes (Vinhos Verde)

Winery representative: Anselmo Mendes


Anselmo Mendes, Muros Antigos Alvarinho, Vinho Verde 2015

100% Alvarinho

Anselmo Mendes, Contacto, Vinho Verde 2015

100% Alvarinho

These wines were made from the same grapes grown in different soils.  Whilst both were light and refreshing with an excellent concentration of green apples and pears, the first was more floral and aromatic. 


Anselmo Mendes, Muros de Melgaco, Vinho Verde 2014

100% Alvarinho

This alvarinho was fermented in used French oak and as such, very soft, elegant, and less fruit forward than the previous examples.  It had a fuller body and was more rounded, with a longer finish.


Anselmo Mendes, Parcela Unica, Vinho Verde 2013

100% Alvarinho

This was superb.  It was unusually full bodied for a Vinho Verde with the traditional high levels of acidity and ripe citrus fruit, but more complex in style, and with a longer finish.  This was my favourite of the four.


Casca Wines (Alentejo/Douro Valley)

Winery representative: Alexandre Tirano


Monte Cascas Reserva DOC Távora-Varosa Espumante Bruto Branco 2010

75% Touriga Nacional, 25% Malvasia

This Portuguese sparkler was aged for 30 months before release.  It had a delicate mousse, fresh acidity, hints of brioche, ripe citrus and a long finish.


Monte Cascas, Grande Reserva, Douro 2011

Old-vine field blend Touriga Franca and Touriga Nacional

The grapes for this wine were pressed by foot.  It was aged for 18 months in the barrel, followed by a further year in the bottle.  This was simply superb; rich, ripe and velvety and one of the best wines of the day.


Vertice (Douro Valley)

Winery representative: Angus Fordyce


Vertice, Gouveio, Douro 2007

100% Gouveio

This was aged for 60 months, and was the first 100% gouveio sparkling wine I had tasted.  It had a fine delicate mousse, a good body with plenty of toast, cream and brioche on both the nose and palate, and a very long creamy finish.


Vertice, Douro NV

Gouveio, Malvasia Fina, Rabigato, Viosinho, Touriga Franca

Another extremely bright and zesty sparkling white made from grapes grown in the Douro Valley.  Aged for 18 months, this was full of ripe citrus fruits, a hint of fresh strawberries, refreshing acidity and a long finish.


Copyright of - February, 2016

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