On Wednesday, June 26, Texas Wine Lover writer Robin Clark attended the trade and press event in downtown Austin hosted by Wines from Spain. It was a fun opportunity to attend this inaugural event for Austin and learn more about the wines from this glorious wine producing country. The event was organized by the Trade Commission of Spain and featured hundreds of wines produced by the country’s leading wine producers. Attendees had a chance to meet with the top importers and distributors of Spanish wines to sample their most popular wines, recent vintages and new products. The event provided a great opportunity to expand one’s knowledge of Spanish wines and explore different wine producing regions and both popular and lesser known grapes varietals currently used for wine production.
The masterclass, “Spain’s Great Grapes: A Deep Dive into the Noble Grapes of Spain” was held at the stylish Intercontinental hotel. Moderator, Devon Broglie MS of Whole Foods, was joined by panel guests June Rodil MS of Goodnight Hospitality and John Roenigk of Austin Wine Merchant. The one-hour session featured nine wines from various regions and varietals that provided a solid overview of some of the best representations of popular wines of Spain. One rosé, three whites, four reds, and one cava were highlighted with the wines generously poured for each attendee to sip and enjoy while making tasting notes and listening to panel members provide details regarding each wine.
The first pour was Akarregi Txiki Ilunabar Rosé 2017, D.O. Getariako Txakolina, a pale pink bubbly rosé, that was dry, crisp, and slightly citrusy with bold minerality. Grape varietals in this bottle featured Hondarrabi Zuri and Hondarrabi Beitz. The first white Pazo das Bruxes Albariño 2017, D.O. Rías Baixas, was fresh, bright, and very pretty with floral and light citrus notes. It happened to be one of my favorite whites that was followed by another of my favorites. Belondrade y Lurton Verdejo 2017, D.O. Rueda, was a heavier smooth white with a hint of sweetness and florals with light oak and a citrus finish. The final white was Fragas do Lecer Fraga do Corvo Blanco 2017, D. O. Monterrei, featuring a heavy citrus nose with slight saltiness and an elegant finish.
The reds featured Bodegas y Viñedos Raúl Pérez Ultreia St. Jacques 2017, D. O. Bierzo which was full of spices and bold fruit and was likened to a Pinot Noir or Dolcetto. This was followed by a Tempranillo, the Bodegas Matarromera Reserva 2014, D.O. Ribera del Duero which was an oaked and leathery bold red. The third red featured Garnacha grapes in Corona de Aragon Old Vine Garnacha 2017, D.O.P. Cariñena. It was my favorite of the reds with a medium body, a bit of spice and leather notes with a dry finish. The final red was Bodegas Volver Triga 2015, D.O. Alicante, with a rich deep hue and baking spices, young fruit, and massive oak that just screamed for a barbeque pairing.
The masterclass ended with the Cavas Codorníu Jaume de Codorníu 2012, D. O. Cava, which was clean with a citrus nose and a little toast that presented slightly sweet yet also had tartness. This was a really beautiful cava that was well balanced and was simply wonderful. Definitely a cava to keep on hand for celebrations.
The grand walk around session of tasting and visiting with the different regional tables and wineries followed across the street in a separate venue featuring 18 tables of various wines with many averaging six or more bottles per table. Each table featured distinctive wines and cava for those wineries, and some had a few different production labels/lines. A much-appreciated table of wonderful and traditional tapas style small bites was also available for guests to pair with the wines as they moved among the tables chatting with the distributors, wine producers, and servers. There were a number of cavas to sample to include Rosé Cavas, which were delightful. Riojas dominated as one of the most prevalent wines at the event and each one was enjoyable and lovely. If you are not very familiar with Spanish wines, I strongly encourage you to check out Austin Wine Merchant, or Specs and HEB to explore their Spanish wine and cava offerings. Many are very affordably priced, and you will be pleasantly surprised at the quality of what you will find. If you’re not sure where to start, look for some of the wines or cava listed in this article and use this as a springboard for your exploration.