Spanish wine – in abundance

This evening I had the privaledge of attending a wine tasting. Something I always appreciate. It was a Spanish wine tasting – very enticing. I have often found Spanish wine a bit dry and often tannic (with the exception of many wines from the Ribera del Duero region which I generally love) and hoped that this would help me learn more about Spanish wine and find other regions that I enjoy.

We had 15 glasses to taste.

While this may be all in an hour’s work for a professional wine taster, for me this seemed a bit over the top. My pallet pretty much goes a bit numb after the first 7 and I can’t tell what I’m tasting after 10. I paced myself, hoping to have something left when we hit # 15.

The first three we tasted were apparently not the most famous varietals grown in Spain. I can’t remember them and do know that I don’t care to. All much to dry and too tannic for me.
Next we tried three Riojas, which I actually enjoyed. I often find Rioja too tannic, but these were a bit smoother than others that I’ve had. My impression of Rioja (the most famous Spanish wine growing region) has somewhat improved.

After that, we had three Ribera del Dueros. I must say, I was not surprised to very much enjoy the first two. They had lovely dark fruit and smooth tannins. Very much what I prefer. (Disclaimer, I have a California pallet, I like fruit forward wines and most european wines aren’t. Ribera del Dueros are nothing like some of the CA fruit bombs, but they are much fruitier than their counterparts from other regions.) The thrid one, oddly enough, I didn’t like at all. Big tannins that overwhelmed the fruit immediately. We did learn that 2004 was a fabulous year for Ribera del Duero, and that if you see one, you should buy it now and store it for a good 3-5 years.

After that I couldn’t really tell you the difference between what I was drinking and month old grape juice. I’m not so good at the whole “taste and spit out” thing.

What I learned: most of the wines we tasted were indeed too dry and too tannic for me. (Also, while dry is the opposite of sweet, tannic is not the oppoiste of fruity. You can have a big fruity wine with lots of tannin. I still don’t know what the opposite of fruity is – maybe mineral? or barnyard? (no, I’m not kidding).) I will keep in mind the advice on 2004 Ribera del Dueros – and I’ll keep trying things.

Good luck with your wine!

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