Wines of Northern Spain are some of the most luscious and expressive in the country, along with the incredible tapas that are paired with them. Though wines from Ribera del Duero and Piorat are making names for themselves as throughout the world, a classic Riojan wine (the wine that really started it all for Spain on an international front) and Somontano, surprise the palate with elegance, depth and approachability and great flavor. This morning on The Broadcast we had a chance to talk through a few of the special wines produced by 5th generation family owned and operated Gonzalez Byass. Click here for a link to the segment, follow the jump for details on each of the wines we talked about. The Beronia wines and sherries of Gonzalez Byass are available at Spec’s stores throughout the state, Tio Pepe is also available locally at Sigel’s stores.
Tio Pepe Fino Sherry – $20 – Family owned and operated Gonzalez Byass dates back to the 1800’s and is best known for their sherry production, including this Tio Pepe Fino Sherry made from the very dry, high acid Palomino variety. Sometimes a Fino can have slightly petrol or ammonia aromas, this one is light, fresh and floral, incredibly easy to drink with light tapas or nibbles like olives, anchovies, smoked salmon or even potato chips.
The foothills of mountain ranges are ideal areas for growing stellar, earthy, elegant and balanced wines, and Spain benefits from several, including the Somontano region, home of Gonzalez Byass Vinas del Vero and Bodega Blecua wineries, at the foothills of the Pyrenees, also known for their incredible olives, quince and almonds, as well as truffles grown in earthy, herb filled forests harvested November – February annually and found at the base of oak trees, often by dogs. Near the medieval city of Alquezar this region boasts both incredible wines as well as an outdoor adventure seekers paradise.
Vinas del Vero Chardonnay – $15, the region actually first grew traditional French varieties like Cabernet, Merlot and Chardonnay, as it was first inhabited by winemakers moving down from France to flee from phyloxera. Spanish varieties are grown now, like Vinas del Vero’s 70+ year old Garnacha vines, but Bordeaux varieties shine in the area, as does this light, fresh and citrus filled Chardonnay.
The foothills of Cantabrian Mountains in the northern most of part of Rioja, outside of the town of Haro, is Beronia, Gonzalez Byass’ high quality bodega making stunning Tempranillo based Spanish wines, as well as a steely, mineral and white fruit filld Viura, the most widely planted grape variety in the world. Wines made to be enjoyed with food, like some of the life changing tapas created by Arrope Restaurant and Hotel, with rooms starting at about $100 a night, $200 a night with wine dinner and local wine tasting.
Beronia Viura – $15, clean, fresh and crisp with layers of bright citrus, pear, melon and earthy minerality. A great patio wine, ideal for sipping from spring into summer, served very cold.
Beronia Rioja Reserva – $20, Rioja started it all for Spain on the international market. Beronia, Gonzalez Byass bodega in the region that celebrated their 40th anniversary last year creates lush, balanced and very elegant wines. This blend of Tempranillo with a touch of Graciano and Manzuelo, aged in both French and American oak barrels for 18 months and then another 20 months in bottle before release, the wine is filled with juicy black cherry and blackberry fruit intertwined with hints of vanilla, coconut, licorice and leather with very smooth, balanced tannins.
The London No 1 Gin – $34 – tomorrow is National Gin and Tonic day and a G&T is Spain’s most beloved drink, sipped from late afternoon to late at night. Though this gin isn’t in Dallas yet it is set to hit the market in June, and you will want to pick up a bottle. A classic gin filled with a blend of botanicals like orange, anise, roseflower, bergamont, juniper and cardamom, ideal in Spain’s favorite cocktail.