Spanish Wine - Rioja & Bierzo
'Necessity is the mother of invention' and after failing to find a satisfactory 'house' wine for his restaurant in Bilbao, patrón Iñake Petralanda Uria Zearra established a winery in his wife's home town of Fuenmajor in 1983. Their principal production is Crianza, that is made from pure Tempranillo, vinified in stainless steel vats and matured for two years in American oak barrels before bottling. It has a wealth of dark cherry and vanilla scents and a juicy black fruit palate with toasty undertones. Unsurprisingly, it makes a terrific partner for spicy pork and poultry dishes. Iñake also makes an excellent 'Gran Reserva', also from straight Tempranillo, that has a three year élevage in oak followed by five years aging in bottle before release. With a complex coffee bean and black berry bouquet and a core of stewed autumnal fruit supported by supple tannins, it drinks beautifully from release and will cellar well for a decade.
The Northern Rhône's indefatigable Graillot family are forever taking on new vinous challenges with ventures in Australia, Italy and Morocco amongst others. Their latest oversees escapade has been in Spain where second son Antoine Graillot has collaborated with renowned wine-maker Raúl Pérez to produce a 'Bierzo' from pure, de-stemmed Mencia grown on clay and schist soils. The inaugural 2016 vintage has already attracted considerable press attention with Thomas Matthews contributing this tasting note to the Wine Spectator: "Sanguine, tarry and gamy notes give this firm red a slightly sauvage character, shadowing red plum, licorice and forest floor flavors. Shows character, with firm tannins and racy acidity."