If you read our blogs you know that we recently returned from Argentina and Chile and are very impressed with the overall quality of their wines. We were also in Spain in 2007 and also enjoyed the Spanish wines and seek them out as often as we can. On Wednesday, we attended the Spanish Pantry, an exhibit of Spanish wine and food at the old Federal Reserve building in San Francisco on Battery Street near the Embarcadero.
This is the third year in a row for the Spanish Pantry event in San Francisco. The event is designed to showcase Spanish wineries and Spanish food companies. Most of the wineries and food companies are there to find importers or direct sales contacts. We attended to learn more about Spanish wines and to discover wineries that we might add to our Spanish Wine Country website. There were 33 wineries present and between the two of us we managed to hit each table and taste a number of wines.
What We Found
For the most part the wineries are small and very much unknown. Our overall impression is that the red wines are not nearly as good as the well-known wines of Spain that are available in the U.S. Some were far too fruity and others too tannic. The whites on the other were much more favorable and some spectacular. There were several Verdejo wines that we liked. If you like the big citrus, grapefruit nose and taste of a Sauvignon Blanc, you will find Verdejo wines much to your liking. Some of the wineries will blend a small amount Sauvignon Blanc just to soften the wine slightly. Most of the Verdejo wines never see any oak. They are fermented and stored in stainless steel tanks. These wines are clean, crisp, and very delicious.
The most delicious white we tasted was a Moscatel. Moscatel is usually a dessert wine but this wine was very dry and floral and made to drink with food. The producer of this wine is Vitae Luxury Wine Specialist. Keep your eye on this producer; they own six different wineries in Spain and overall their wines were the best that we tasted.
We won’t recommend any particular wines we tasted for you to buy because for the most part these wines are not yet available here in the United States. Once these wineries find an importer, I am sure some of these wines will become popular.
We have a few favorite Spanish wines that we like and can recommend. They are widely available at many wine shops. Here is a list of some of our favorites that are under $20.
Bodegas Nora and Adegas Valminor AlbariÃ±o — $13 to $15
Bodegas Aura Verdejo – – $18
Dos Victorias Jose Pariente Verdejo
Bodegas Muga Barrel Fermented Viura – $15 to 18
Dos Victorias Elias Mora Crianza – Tinto de Toro – $19.99 at Costco
Abadia Retuerta Rivola — Rubera del Duero — Tempenillo – $18