- Publish Date: Oct 11, 2010
Sail For Spain
Quick tips on starting to explore Spanish reds and whites.
The first thing most people do on Columbus Day is try and remember if they have to go to work. If not, the question then becomes how to spend the day. If you're lucky enough to have today off, why not pay homage to the voyage of Christopher Columbus and sip some Spanish wine?
Your chances of getting a great-tasting bottle on a gamble are better with this country than perhaps any other in Europe. (That's appropriate since, after all, Columbus had no idea where he was going and things still worked out.) But just as Columbus had the stars to guide him to what he thought was the Far East, here's a little info on Spanish wine for the next time you visit the store.
If you usually like more full-bodied, tannic reds, ask for a wine made of Tempranillo, the star grape in the Rioja region. If you like a more fruit-forward, berry-flavored red, ask for a Garnacha (the same grape as France's Grenache); there are plenty of wallet-friendly choices from the Navarra region.
The two white grapes that are good to start with are Albariño and Verdejo. The former is the more mild of the two, with apricot and peach notes--and is sometimes aged in oak. So if you like Chardonnay, Albariño might be right for you. Verdejo, however, is much more crisp and vibrant, and often tastes similar to Sauvignon Blanc; if you like one, odds are you'll like the other.
Now that you have a rough idea of where you're going, carry on and explore Spanish wine. If you already have a head start and a favorite bottle from Spain, tell us about it below.