April 12, 2010 - Posted by Erin in Food and wine

Every two weeks (give or take) for the last couple of years, Jacobo and I have been going to wine tastings at one of our favorite restaurants in Madrid, Rubaiyat. At these tastings we usually try five to six wines, usually all from Spain. Sometimes the wines all come from one bodega or sometimes there is a theme (Riojas, for example), and usually the wine is presented by a sommelier, or an expert from either the bodega or the industry. So I decided that I should share these wines with you since there is so much to discover about Spanish wine, not to mention that you can find many of them in the US at very reasonable prices.

This last week’s tasting was of Gramona wines, a 130 year old bodega located in the Penedès wine region of Barcelona and that is considered the most well known bodega in Spain for cava. What is cava you ask? Well, it’s basically like champagne – the only differences being the place the grapes are grown, the climate, and the grape varietals. The method for making cava, however, is exactly the same as champagne. All of the wines we tried were quite good, my favorite being the fifth – the Gramona Argent. Now let me tease you by telling you about each of them.

    Gessamí 2009. This white wine, made from Muscat, Gewürztraminer and Sauvignon blanc grapes, was described as a walk through a garden – the perfect wine for spring. It smells of white flowers and seeded fruit such as apricots. In the mouth there is a balance of sweetness and acidity, which makes it particularly refreshing. This is a wine typically best consumed within a year or so of its vintage.
    Gramona Sauvignon Blanc 2008 has been aged three months in the barrel. It smells of fruit and wood and has a denseness to it that makes it a great pairing with a fatty fish. It would also pair well with shellfish or a salad with tropical fruit. This wine can age up to a couple of years before drinking.
    Gramona Rosado Pinot Noir is a Rosé which has just a tinge of pinkish-brown and is made only using Pinot noir grapes, which is entirely unique to this bodega. It has a strangely familiar scent of sweet red fruit and is creamy in the mouth, with a subtle, light bubble. The wine would pair well with appetizers (think Spanish-style appetizers).
    Gramona Imperial 2006 was voted best cava in Spain for that same year. It smells of toast, cookies, nuts and even a touch of apple and is creamy in the mouth. With its fine bubbles, it is easy to drink. It’s versatile and would go well with lunch or with appetizers.
    Gramona Argent 1998, my favorite, is a cava made with Chardonnay grapes and aged 36 months in the barrel. It’s a wine with more volume in the mouth and flavors of toasted hazelnut (which I love!), bread crust, and pastry. Like the others, it would pair well with appetizers, or in my opinion, nothing at all – I could be perfectly happy drinking it all night long just by itself!
    Vi de gel Gewürztraminer, our final wine, is an ice wine made with 100% Gewürztraminer grapes. An ice wine is a dessert wine made from grapes that are still frozen on the vine. The idea is that the grapes are full of frozen water, but the sugars and other solids remain unfrozen so that when the grapes are pressed you end up with a more concentrated amount of sweet wine. This wine in particular smells of flowers and honey. With a nice balance of sweetness and acidity, it would pair well with a blue cheese, foie gras, or chocolate cake (oh that sounds just horrible doesn’t it!?!!).

Now, don’t you think it’s time to try some Spanish wine?