Must try Spanish wines under $20

gastronomia

Spanish wine continue to enjoy a rising popularity among Canadian wine enthusiasts. For instance, according to ICEX ( Espana Exportacion e Inversiones), Spanish wine exports to Canada have increased a whopping 27% from 2011-2015. Spain also ranks 4th place as a Canadian foreign wine supplier behind USA, France, Italy and Australia. The enthusiasm comes mostly from the province of Quebec with a share of the import market over 50%. Furthermore, growth in the French province has been an impressive 32% in the last five years, with 5.2% alone in 2016.

There is a number of factors that explain Canadians’ preferences for Spanish wines. First, Spain has a solid reputation of making the best quality price ratio wines in the world. Two, we can practically find all  wine styles made in Spain. This fact is no surprising to me since the country possesses more than 1 million ha of vineyards. The last reason is just a matter of taste. Canadians and specially Quebecers  just  love the  flavors derived from the oak aging system of Spanish wines.

I recently tasted a modest amount of Spanish wines that can be found presently at the SAQ under the $20 category. These are great wines for your weekday supper meals , weekends, or can be offered as gifts to please special friends or family. Below my tasting notes:

Disclaimer: Prices are in CAD for the Quebec market in Canada. Wines reviewed for this post were given as samples or tasted as part of a product portfolio by their respective importers or promotional agencies.

glass

Sparkling and Whites

Paco & Lola Cava Lola ( Xarello, Macabeo, Parellada)-Sparkling. SAQ Code: 13483911 $19.95

Pretty nose bringing to mind ripe pineapple with orange quince jam. Medium body and fresh with a luscious creamy mouthfeel. Long floral finale.

Bodegas Protos Verdejo Rueda 2016 SAQ # 13321874 $17.25

Bright nose reminiscent of ripe green apple and lime. Medium body with a good acidity and fragrant flavours bringing to mind fennel and tropical fruits. This wine overdelivers for under $20.

Conde Valdemar Viura Verdejo  2016 SAQ # 13385309 $15.10

Delicious bouquet bringing to mind green apple, yellow pepper and endives complemented by notes of white pepper, acacia and jazmin as well. Round and caressing with a mouth-watering acidity. This is probably the best quality price ratio for a spanish white available at the SAQ at the moment.

Reds

Francois Lurton Hermanos Lurton Tempranillo Toro 2016 SAQ # 10359261. $15.45

This modest toro has a very enticing nose bringing to mind red cherry cream with notes of raspberry dark chocolate and vanilla. Juicy on the palate with a fresh acidity and a long dry and lingering finish.

Tardencuba Roble D.O. Toro 2015. SAQ # 12826096. $14.15

A delicious Toro wine. Crafted  with 100% Tinta de Toro (Tempranillo grape) that were sourced  from a single vineyard that is more than 60 years old. It is aged six months in French oak barrels and for an additional 12 months in the bottle. It has primal aromas of red and black berries with exotic spices and leather. Very long with suave tannins.

Conde Valdemar Crianza 2013. SAQ # 897330. $15.75

A classical Rioja wine that display notes of prunes jam, bitter orange peel and pipe tobacco  complemented by vanilla and black cherry. On the mouth, noble and supple with satiny tannins with a quite spicy finish.

Garnacha Artazuri Artadi 2016. SAQ # 10902841. $15.65

Delicious red fruit expression such as ripe raspberries and red prunes complemented by floral scents such as roses,violets and lilacs.On the mouth, fleshy and juicy with flavors bringing to mind dry spices as well .Ripe and concentrated but always elegant

 

Social Media beyond Hashtags and Likes in wine writing

A lots of things has happened between the WBC 17 and today. School, wine writing and family has kept me busy, so is comforting to be able to take the time to write these lines about the conference. By doing so, I get to relive that special weekend in Santa Rosa.

This will be my third post on the WBC  and I would like to talk about the seminar of  Advanced Social Media Beyond Hashtags and Likes presented by Charlotte Chipperfield,  Founder & CEO of Chipperfield Media.

The topic of social media makes me feel quite uncomfortable. You see, my natural tendency is to focus only on content when I write about wine and I take for granted the importance of having an effective social media strategy. Recently I have been  complaining because of my lousy followers stats in Facebook and Instagram. One of my long-term goals is to be an important international influencer in the field of wine & food

My first course of action was to assist to this seminar. With a brave heart, I embraced the uneasiness and came back empowered with amazing tools. Basically, Miss Chipperfield learnt me the importance of having an effective social media strategy. These include having a good social media foundation and establish goals in social media.

A strong social media foundation includes branding, know your audience, get organized and set goals and objectives. Well, at the moment, I have none of these since I write about wine for pleasure. After a long reflection, I concluded that these tools could help me fueling my passion. But it is hard work for me, since I have to be pragmatic about what I write and enter into marketing mode rather than artist romantic

Miss Chipperfield stressed the importance of a brand. The brand is who you are and how you transmit this message to social media.  Charlotte discussed the importance of having a logo and presented some applications such as Canva ( a photo editor tool ) to help you with the task.

In the seminar, I really enjoyed the part on how we deliver the message to social media. Charlotte could not stress enough the importance of being social. Get involved in doing live Facebook, Instagram stories, live twitter chats. In the past, this is something that I considered doing but let it to sleep in my imaginary drawer of things to do. Well, starting in the first week of January, I will be doing my first live fb live.

Charlotte could not stress enough the importance of knowing your audience to craft an effective communication strategy. Some of the key points that she presented include:

  • Demographics
  • What devices your audience use?
  • What content are they interested in it?
  • What social media platforms do they use

I also got myself the viva video application to make and edit videos. I decided to go for the platinum version. It was just $16.99. I really want to invest myself in video production to increase my follower base in twitter and instagram.

In conclusion, what i got out from this seminar is to start really thinking about the box. Not only philosophizing but taking action about it. This week i did my first instagram post using Canva. My wife gave a bottle of Grappa and I did a humble post about the liqueur using the application.

My intention was to go beyond a tasting note and portrait the product as something comforting for a cold winter night. The picture of the bottle integrated into the ice flakes reflects what i wanted to communicate.

Three Cavas for New Years Eve:

Happy New Year 2018

This being a Spanish wine blog, here are two Cavas to celebrate the arrival of the new year 2018:

Freixenet Elyssia Cava Chardonnay Macabeo Parellada Pinot Noir. SAQ # 11912494, $18.60

Enticing aromas of buttered toast with dry fruits and nectarines. On the mouth, elegant and earthy with beautiful floral nuances. A pleasant saline and iode character in the finish will make a stellar match with oysters.

Segura Viudas Gran Cuvée. SAQ # 12696210, $19.85

Flint and silex on the nose as well as nuances of Meyers lemon. On the mouth, quite elegant with a racing acidity and more citric flavors. Perfect for seafood platters.

 

SEE YOU IN 2018!!!!

 

 

 

Cavas to try for the coming December holiday season

20171019_115843.jpg

Every holidays need its fair dose of fizz, and if you are a Spanish wine lover, definitely, you are going to have at least a bottle or two of Cava in december.

If you don’t know, Cava is a sparkling  wine from Catalonia ( which is on the news these days a lot) and therefore, it should always be served between 5 – 8 degrees. Generally younger the wine is, the cooler it should be tasted. Moreover, a good glass such as a  flute shape is the best option to drink cava, and that’s because this shape will retain the aromas longer and will enhance the overall experience. When possible, the glass should never be filled more than 2/3 in order to keep it cool.

So, how can you pair Cava in your holidays menu ? I have a few suggestions. For those who are serving appetizers, a Brut Nature would be idea; Is seafood on your mind? That is a fantastic choice for Christmas Day or New Year’s Eve and that would be nicely paired with a cava Brut or Brut Reserva. Making  a traditional roast or filled meat instead? You might be considering a Brut Nature Gran Reserva. Do you still have space for a dessert such as nougat? Do not forget to open a bottle of cava Semisec or Sweet to go with it.

And last but not least, to avoid any familiar holiday argument with your wife or husband do remember to drink in moderation!

The following Cavas that I tasted were among a selection of more than 60 sparkling wines from the AQAVBS press tasting in Montreal, Quebec. Last time I checked the SAQ has listed close to 43 choices in the sparkling wine category from Spain and my picks represent some of the best that you can find in the Quebec market. In the Ontario market, please consult your LCBO listing and for the rest of the world, wine searcher

conchi

Villa Conchi Cava Brut Selección. SAQ # 12956456 $14.95

An unbeatable Cava for the price, it has an honest hose displaying lime and white orchard fruit. Medium body, elegant and structured with a good acidity and poise. 85/100

pink

Parés Baltà Pink Cava. SAQ # 12888043. $17.60

The rose Cava from Pares Balta has been a favorite of mine for quite a long time. On the nose, aromas of cherry, raspberry chocolate and pink peppercorns. Fresh and bright with round texture and elegant finish. 87/100

camps

Juvé y Camps Reserva de la Familia 2013. SAQ # 10654948 $21.85

A fine layer of minerals and beer yeast with a  white flower and meyer lemon dimension, complemented by macadamia nuts. Dry and structured and racy in the palate. A buttery herbal finish complement this quality driven Cava. 88/100

heredad

Segura Viuda Heredad Reserva Cava. SAQ # 12883461. $30.25

An enticing nose bringing to mind coconut flakes and cocktail pear aromas. Sweet tasting and elegant bringing to mind brioche and mushrooms flavors alike with a touch of brine in the finale. 88/100

blanca

Parés Baltà Blanca Cusiné Penedès 2010. SAQ # 12591021. $35.25

A complex cava bringing to mind roasted almonds with notes of honey, wood and green tea. On the palate it is fresh and round, showing notes of ripe and candied fruit together with flavours of cashews that last through the full length of the finish. 90/100