Wine Maven

by Mary Bailey

Viva España for the Q

Wines from Spain continue to amaze due to their value and the style—a natural for the Alberta palate—full throttle reds with swagger, ideal with savoury dishes from the grill. Spanish reds tend to higher alcohol, 14.5 per cent and up. On hot days, plunk into the fridge for 15 minutes before serving, yes even the reds, to bring out the fruit and diminish the alcohol sensation.

El Petit Bonhomme Tinto

El Petit Bonhomme Tinto

El Petit Bonhomme Tinto 2012 (Jumilla) $16
Tasting of juicy ripe fruit and wild herbs with just enough tannin and fresh acidity to keep it interesting. Drink with black olive tapenade on crostini.

Jean Leon Cabernet Sauvignon Reserva

Jean Leon Cabernet Sauvignon Reserva

Jean Leon Cabernet Sauvignon Reserva 2007 (Penedes) $28
Beautifully structured, with ripe plum, spice and harmonious toasty flavours from judicious barrel aging. Drink with grilled top sirloin. 

Finca el Puig

Finca el Puig

The licorella (dark slate) soil, the vertiginous hills and the unique climate, hot during the day and freshened by breezes off the Mediterranean at night, give wines from the Priorat, about 1½ hours south of Barcelona, a special character—big, powerful, concentrated yet also fruity and fresh. Decant a few hours before serving to help develop the brooding flavours and compelling aromas.

Finca el Puig 2010 (Priorat) $37
Old vine Grenache-dominant with Syrah, Carignan, and Cab Sauv making up
the blend—notes of fig, white pepper and mineral, tasting of cherry and ripe raspberries, chunky yet balanced tannins, slightly astringent with a dusty finish. This wine adores red meats and fat— think juicy sausages charred on the grill.

Grand Clos

Grand Clos

Grand Clos 2006 (Priorat) $61
Classic Priorat style with Grenache and Carignan dominating the blend; lots of fresh red berry notes, well-balanced acidity and silky tannins. Its elegant structure pairs well with roast bison or beef. A tremendous value for a wine almost a decade old.