Foto: © Carlos Carrion. Todos los derechos reservados.

Foto: © Carlos Carrion. Todos los derechos reservados.

Spanish wines are in the hot seat on Somm In The City. I simply can not hide my passion for Spanish wine due to the great prices, variety, and quality of the wines. Recently I had lunch with the President of Marqués de Cáceres winery: Cristina Forner. Her family has been in the wine industry for over five generations and it was her father’s winemaking techniques that took the winery to new levels and put them on the map!

IMG_5097Cristina’s father Enrique Forner founded the winery in 1970, and was determined to do things differently. The wines of Rioja are well known for their bold style, flavors, and Tempranillo grape. Enrique dared to be a little different, so instead of making wine the way it was done for centuries in Rioja, Forner chose to make wines in the Bordeaux style and implemented French oak aging and long refinement in the bottle. This ultimately enhanced the qualities of the region’s signature Tempranillo grape.

IMG_5129Today these techniques are used, but back in the day that was not the norm. I had the pleasure of speaking with Cristina on her birthday over lunch at La Masseria restaurant in Manhattan. Here we tasted through some incredible wines from the Marqués de Cáceres portfolio. Each wine was different and beautiful with a taste, grape, and price point for everyone. I guarantee you have come across a Marqués de Cáceres in your local wine shop, as their wines are available in more than 120 countries.

IMG_5107We started off with some Burata Salad and Charcuterie paired with the 2015 Verdejo. I love verdejo and was excited to taste their vibrant and food friendly wine from Rueda (region in Spain). Verdejo is the perfect spring and summer sip and should be stocked in your home this season! For around $10.00 you can enjoy this beautiful bottle of white wine from Spain, which pairs perfectly with a tapas style picnic on a warm summer day.

IMG_5111Up after was one of my favorite wines – the Rosé 2015 at $12.00 is a wine you must try this season. Fresh and playful with no oak, this medium-bodied pink wine is mostly Tempranillo (96%) and some Garnacha Tinta (4%). The color is gorgeous, vibrant, and the perfect shade of pink. On the palate are flavors of fresh red cherries, strawberries, and aniseed. This is not a sweet wine, it’s dry with great acidity and is perfect to sip as an apéritif or to pair with foods such as the Fried Zucchini and Prawns at La Masseria, NYC.

IMG_5115Last but certainly not the least were some big, bold, reds. The 2011 Rioja Crianza is one that you may have sipped a time or two at a friends house, at a bbq, or at a tasting. This wine is around $10.00 and for the price, it’s quality in your glass! Aged one year in oak and a minimum of one year in the bottle before release, this deep ruby red wine with a purple core is a blend of mostly Tempranillo (85%) with a small amount of Garnacha Tinta (10%) and Graciano (5%). Fruit forward aromas and flavors are balanced with the hints of oak leading to lingering vanilla and spice. Up against this wine was the Marqués de Cáceres Rioja Reserva IMG_51102010. For $25.00 this is a very special vino and is made only during the best vintages from vineyards that are 25-30 years old! Mostly Tempranillo (85%) with a little Garnacha Tinta (10%) and Graciano (5%), this wine sees 20 months in French oak and then spends another 2 years aging in the bottle before release. This wine is stunning with aromas of berry, chocolate, and tobacco followed by flavors of plums and black cherries with hints of chocolate, coffee, and cinnamon. For twenty-five dollars this wine is a such a steal!

For those seeking some Spanish wine from Rioja, give Marqués de Cáceres a try. These wines are impressive, affordable, and perfectly pair-able. Always remember to eat what you like and drink what you love… please pair responsibly!