Spanish Wine - Rioja & Bierzo
Here at Yapp Brothers we have long believed in pursuing serendipitous discoveries, so when Tom encountered a cracking Crianza when visiting friends in northern Spain in 2015, he made an impromptu visit to the Bodegas Petralanda in Fuenmajor. Despite the shortcomings of his spoken Spanish he managed to convince the team there of his buying credentials and place our inaugural order en el sitio. Gratifyingly, it is now one of our top ten best-selling reds: which isn't bad going for a French wine specialist.
Made from mostly Tempranillo plus 10% Mazuelo (Carignan) that is vinified in stainless steel vats then matured for two years in American oak barrels before bottling, the finished wine has dark cherry and vanilla aromas and a sleek palate of juicy black fruit with peppery undertones and supple tannins. A fringe benefit of Tom's cross-border raiding party was the discovery of the Bodegas' 'Gran Réserva', that is made from pure Tempranillo that is then aged in barrels for 3 years then in bottles for 5 years before release. With a complex coffee bean and dark chocolate bouquet and concentrated palate of stewed autumnal fruit supported by ripe tannins, it drinks beautifully from release and will cellar well for a decade.
Having established an Iberian foothold, it seemed churlish not to sample Antoine Graillot's 'Encinas' Bierzo that he conceived in collaboration with acclaimed Spanish wine-maker Raúl Perez. Made from pure Mencia grown on clay and schist soils, vinified in concrete vats and raised in large oak barrels, the inaugural 2016 vintage proved a hit with journalists and sommeliers alike. With ripe cherry and plum scents and a red fruit palate offset by a fresh acidity, it's a palate-cleansing red well-suited to pork and poultry.