Spanish wineries have built up a solid reputation for quality and although German and Belgium lagers are sometimes better known, refreshing Spanish beers are increasingly receiving the recognition they deserve, writes Gillian Hamill
28 September 2016
Hard as it may seem to believe now; with the limited exception of sherry, Rioja was the only Spanish wine that enjoyed much international awareness until the late twentieth century, according to Wines From Spain. However, in recent years, Spanish wine has kept pace by generating an explosion of new wines, wineries, brands, and regions – developments unprecedented in vinous history. While wine has underpinned commerce and nutrition in Spain for thousands of years, Wines From Spain says the scene we are experiencing today is something no other country has ever experienced: a compressed revolution in which pedestrian, paint-by-numbers wine is developed into great art. “It’s as if the last century of wine development in the most successful wine-producing countries has been achieved in only a few short years,” the organisation states.
And although Spain is traditionally known as a land of wine drinkers, more and more people are beginning to drink beer. This has been influenced by the opening of a large number of microbreweries, most notably in areas such as Catalonia. BeersofEurope.co.uk reports such microbreweries are helping the industry to grow and transform. The microbrewery owners are getting more creative with hop combinations and spices, giving Spanish beer a unique flavour that it has lacked in the past.
While Spanish beers are not as well-known as some of Germany’s finest, more and more of the country’s products are receiving the recognition they so rightly deserve, according to Onthepulse.es, inside and outside of the country. In fact, Spain is the fourth largest producer of beer in Europe and the tenth in the world. Interestingly, Spaniards do not generally order pints of beer. Instead, it is the custom to order a caña (small glass of beer), a tubo (long glass) or a bottle. Bottled beer is divided into quintos (20 cl.), tercios (33 cl.) or litros (1 litre).
Constant monitoring creates expressive cavas
The Codorníu family history dates back to 1551. Codorníu was the first winery to create cava using Macabeo, Xarel·lo and Pallerada grapes. Codorníu owns the oldest Pinot Noir and Chardonnay vineyards, used for the production of cava with vines aged 30 years or more.
Codorníu created its own style for the cavas it produces, combining local and international grapes, to make stylish, very expressive, refreshing aromatic cavas, with utmost respect for grapes used and the land they come from.
The grapes used to make Codorníu Clásico Rosé come from vineyards selected by Codorníu’s winegrowing and enology teams in the Penedés region, where these varietals attain their full typicity. The winegrowing team works year-round in order to constantly improve crops, monitor ripening, decide on the best moments for harvesting and make sure that the grapes enter the Codorníu winery in optimum condition.
A medium to deep rosé, Codorníu Clásico Rosé has fine bubbles, with aromas of red berries, jams and passion fruit, overlain with notes of pastries and yeast from its aging in contact with the yeasts.
In terms of food matching, this wine is ideal as an aperitif or as an accompaniment to oily fish and rice dishes. It also makes an excellent pairing with tapas and fried fish.
Codorníu is distributed by Gilbeys of C&C Gleeson. For more information on the Codorníu range, contact your sales representative.
Jewel in winery’s crown
Since the 1980s, Conde Valdemar (www.valdemar.es) has become a reference in Rioja, making wines that stand out because of their quality such as the Gran Reserva and Reserva wines which are currently available in over 55 countries. Chosen as one of the best five wineries in La Rioja over the last 25 years by Wine and Spirits Magazine, Conde de Valdemar is acknowledged as synonymous with quality, innovation and continuity all over the world. Valdemar is a prestigious winery with the most history in making Gran Reservas of Rioja.
Conde Valdemar Gran Reserva DOCa Rioja 2008 is the great jewel of the winery. Made from 85% Tempranillo, 10% Mazuelo and 5% Graciano, this wine has spent 26 months in French oak barrels to settle and age under the best conditions. The elegance of the Tempranillo grape is very well displayed in this rounded, tasty wine, rich in aromas and nuances.
Conde Valdemar has a collection of these Gran Reserva wines dating back to 1968 through to current times in its wine store’s rock cellar. This spectacular bottle cellar with over 3,500,000 bottles enables the wine to settle during its final stage in the ageing process.
This Gran Reserva is bright red cherry and reveals spicy aromas of cloves, black pepper with a hint of cedar wood and herbs. It is round and full flavoured in the mouth, tasty and balanced. The finish is long, lingering and silky.
It is a perfect match with red meat, stews and roasted food as well as game. It is also good with cold meats and cheeses.
As well as being a connoisseur’s choice for the Christmas dinner table, Valdemar Gran Reserva makes a lovely Christmas gift, enhanced by being wrapped in a bespoke canister.
Valdemar Gran Reserva 2008 will be on special promotion in participating independent off-licences at €20, down from €33.45, from 1 October 2016 while stocks last. Valdemar Wines are distributed in Ireland by Febvre & Company. www.febvrewines.ie. Tel: 01 2161400.
A story of adventure and world travel
San Miguel was born in Manila in 1890, a time when the city was a crossroads of cultures, civilizations, innovations, new lifestyles and different ways of perceiving the world. That fact determined forever the life story and personality of the brand, which nowadays can be found in more than 40 countries.
Its portfolio is comprised of a wide collection of lager beers, some of them awarded titles in prestigious international contests, such as the Brussels Beer Challenge or the World Beer Awards: San Miguel Special, San Miguel Clara, San Miguel Fresca, Selecta, San Miguel 1516, San Miguel 0,0%, San Miguel Eco and San Miguel Gluten Free.
Deep inside San Miguel, is an explorer and a pioneer, on a constant journey that began in 1890 and has taken the brand across the world. Through all these years, the brand has searched, compiled and shared the best beer experiences: ‘A journey where the best is yet to come’.
San Miguel Especial is a pale blonde Spanish pilsner style lager, with a hoppy, citrus aroma, and zesty fruity flavours with a full-flavoured lingering finish. It perfectly balances bitterness and roasted barley notes to deliver a uniquely rich flavour.
San Miguel Fresca is a pale blonde Spanish lager, brewed using the finest hops and barley, delivering a well-balanced, refreshing, golden lager. Best served chilled with a wedge of lime, it’s the ultimate in refreshment!
For further details, contact Rye River Brewing Company: (01) 628 7255.
Leading de-alcoholised wine now 100% alcohol-free
Bodegas Torres, Ireland’s number one Spanish wine brand (Source: Nielsen), has proudly driven the de-alcoholised wine sector in Ireland in recent years with its critically acclaimed Torres Natureo, the world leader in de-alcoholised wines.
With its acclaimed great taste, Natureo has been credited with raising the standard of the category in general and accurately satisfying the consumer need for a flavoursome low/non-alcoholic drink with character that is neither water nor a standard soft drink.
Today, Torres is honoured to introduce the next phase of the project: from this month Natureo is moving from 0.5% ABV to an alcohol-free 0.0% ABV, meaning that the leading de-alcoholised wine in Ireland can now boast being fully non-alcoholic.
Of course it still maintains the same great aromatic, floral, fruit-forward taste that has marked it out from the competition, and it still contains less than half the calories of regular wine, meaning that it’s a great choice for those watching their weight.
But now Natureo is fully compatible with the wishes of those wanting a fully non-alcoholic beverage due to religious or health reasons, for example, as well as continuing to appeal to regular Natureo consumers such as designated drivers, pregnant women and those generally watching their alcohol intake.
Torres Natureo is retaining its usual RSP and packaging, so the only change will be on the back label.
Torres is distributed in Ireland by Findlater Wine & Spirit Group.