Years ago when I first came to Madrid as a language student I was mainly a white wine drinker. Spain with its abundance of young, fun and fruity reds slowly brought me round to the wonders of red wine and I can’t thank it enough. Now don’t get me wrong, Spain also produces some great full bodied, complex reds. But that’s not what we’re talking about here, so if you don’t feel it’s a proper red unless it takes your mouth over and fills you with spice, earth and tannins for a goodly while, then move on because we are here to celebrate the simplicity of Spain’s fruit led young wines.
I was reminded of my own journey to red by a friend who came to visit this weekend. It was her first visit to Madrid. She is a classic British pub goer who enjoys the American Zinfandel Roses that are sold in abundance in the UK. These are very fruity wines usually full of strawberry, raspberry and cherry and can come across as sweeter than they actually are. I think of them as picnic wines. The closest equivalent we have in Spain are the Rosados from Navarra. Unfortunately they do not serve Navarran Rosados by the glass in the Madrid bars. My friend was struggling with the white and rose wines which were on offer as she found them too dry and acidic, a problem she solved by adding some Casera or Fanta Limon.
Then last night we were in a classic ‘old man’ bar in Madrid, where the owner, who is a good friend, has been in situ since the 1960s. He is typical old style bar owner who plies you with more tapas than you could possibly eat and loves to give you little tipples of Spanish drinks you may not have tried. He is a one man salesperson for all things traditionally Spanish and it is very difficult to say no to him. So when he poured a glass of his latest favourite red wine, my friend was unable to refuse despite her protestations that she doesn’t drink red wines. She caved under the formidable force which is the Madrileño Abuelo and took a sip.
Imagine her surprise when she realised she’d finally found a wine she liked in the one colour she thought she couldn’t stand. Welcome to Spain my dear, ‘We’re different’ as the saying goes. And why did she prefer this red wine to all the whites and roses she had tried? Because it was a perfect example of a young, fruity Spanish Red: the alcoholic equivalent of Ribena (a blackcurrant cordial).
The Viña Villarín red wine is made from 100% Tempranillo in the Pesquera de Duero region of Castilla Leon, which is in the Ribera del Duero Denominacíon de Origen, though this particular wine doesn’t carry that quality label. It is their economic offering, matured for only 6 months in oak barrels and is designed to be drunk fairly immediately.
It’s a nice light purple red colour with a fruity scent of fresh red and black berries. It tastes as it smells of fresh mature berries and has a very light clean finish. You barely detect the tannins or the acidity. Although it is a dry wine it’s fruit led flavour makes it seem sweeter. Aside from the fruit there is not much else going on. It is a very uncomplicated refreshing fruity red wine, the perfect starter red for someone used to zinfandel roses.
Well done Spain we’ve achieved another convert.
|Name:||Viña Vallarín 6M|
|Region:||Pesquera de Duero, Castilla Leon|