Spanish Finds

By MacNeil-Fife, Karen | Sunset, July 2002 | Go to article overview

Spanish Finds


MacNeil-Fife, Karen, Sunset


The Wine Guide

By the age of 30, I had visited every major wine-- producing region in Spain and had, in general, fallen completely in love with Spanish flavors-vinous and culinary. One whiff of the savory aroma of paella cooking on the stove and there I am again, a young American in Spain, on a mission to find the greatest paella and the greatest Spanish wines to go with it. Spain had been (and continues to be) the best-kept secret in Europe.

Taking paella as my inspiration again this month (see page 132), I've given some thought to what a wine lover should know about the wines of Spain now: First, that the best reds have some of the softest, most sublime and earthy flavors of any wines anywhere. That gentleness is due in large part to the fact that Spanish wines are aged for comparatively long periods of time in oak barrels-especially reds from the two top regions, Rioja and Ribera del Duero. In both places, wines are made mainly from the red grape Tempranillo (called Tinto Fino in Ribera del Duero).

Among the dozens of Spanish white wines, the two to know about are cava and Albarino. Cava, Spanish sparkling wine, is fresh, crisp, and wonderfully inexpensive. …

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