In the not-so-distant past, high-end wine drinkers tended toward the tried-and-true: rare California cabernets and well-vintaged French bordeaux. Today, thankfully, oenophiles have become more adventurous in their tastes, which includes delving into rare and satisfying bottles from Spain, beyond the well-known Rioja.
Naturally, Spanish winemakers are rejoicing. “These days, the wine sector has changed a lot,” says winemaker Judit Llop of the Heredad Collection, whose boutique wines originate from some of Spain’s most prestigious appellations. “The wine culture has grown, and people are now enjoying fantastic wines from all over the world.”
Llop offers a variety of unique wines, including Garbó — a blend of syrah, tempranillo, and merlot that, like its namesake, presents wine lovers with a bit of mystery and darkness — and a 2009 Mas de Subirà, barrel aged in French oak for a full year. Her Morlanda Criança is a big, full-bodied red blend that stands up well to spicy and hearty dishes.
Barterhouse is another importer of intriguing Spanish wines, and their 2009 Eccomi Tinto Super Premium is a hand-harvested red blend that emits chocolate and red berry notes kissed by oak. Their 2008 Montebaco Vendimia Seleccionada is a tempranillo with hints of black cherry and oak. Aside from a traditional Spanish dish like paella, we discovered that the optimal way to experience Barterhouse wines is with a morsel of blue cheese, which alternately turned sweet, salty, and even creamier depending upon how long the wine had been breathing. Pure alchemy direct from Spain.
Morlanda Criança, $48; Mas de Subirà, $30; GarbÓ, $19
Eccomi Tinto Super Premium, $80
Montebaco Vendimia Seleccionada, $85