Wine with Leslie Williams: Six way to celebrate Spanish Wine Week

The annual Spanish Wine Week runs from next Monday (April 8) until the following Sunday (April 14) with wine and food events around the country.

For a full list of events and promotions visit www.spanishwineweek.ie.

As you probably know by now L’Atitude 51 on Union Quay had a fire a couple of weeks ago and they will be out of action for a few months.

I consider L’Atitude to be one of the world’s best wine bars so this was not just terrible news for the owner Beverly Matthews but also for Cork and Ireland’s wine community. Beverly is soldiering on however and will be hosting wine tastings and events in other venues in the coming months so please do follow her on Facebook and Twitter: @Latitude_51.

During Spanish Wine week Beverly is due to host a Wine and Tapas lunch in the Heart of Spain in Fota Retail Park in Carrigtohill on Saturday, April 13, from 1.30pm to 3.30pm – telephone: 087-4574134 or visit www.heartofspain.ie.

A second event with Rafa Salazar of Vinostito wines comparing the wines of Catalunya and Madrid is set for April 11 — check Bev’s Facebook or Twitter for the venue.

I will be in Sol y Sombra restaurant in Killorglin on Monday, April 8, hosting an evening of Irish-Spanish fusion with tapas and wine and the following day the All Ireland Tapas and Pintxo Championships are on in Tralee IT. The winner goes on to the World Tapas Championships in Valladolid.

In Limerick Sash Restaurant at No 1 Pery Square is hosting a Spanish Wine Dinner on Friday, April 12, and will have a focus on Spanish wine and food all week. Both Dublin and Galway have several events with wine dinners, tastings and even a table quiz.

If you are in Dublin that week (or any week) I recommend Fish Shop on Queen St and their sister restaurant on nearby Benburb Street who have an excellent selection of Spanish wines.

Chef Jumoke Akintola is a magician with fish and her partner Peter has a similarly sure hand with the wine selections in both restaurants. The Benburb St restaurant has arguably the best fish and chips in the country and must be the only restaurant with a selection of wines from Sanlúcar de Barrameda, the home of salty fresh Manzanilla Sherry, my favourite match for fish and chips.

BEST VALUE UNDER €15

La Granja Verdejo-Viura, Castilla Y Leon,Spain — €9.99

Stockists: Bradleys, Matsons Grange, Youghal and Bandon, McHughs Malahide Road, Ardkeen Stores, Independents.

This was a Gold Star Award winner in the NOffLA Awards a couple of years ago and is still a great bargain. Pear and floral aromas, crisp and fresh with a touch of bitter lemon on the finish — perfect for fish or light pasta dishes. Also worth trying is their Garnacha and their Tempranillo, both fruit driven.

Bodegas El Angosto La Tribu, Valencia,Spain — €13.50

Stockists: Matsons Grange, Youghal and Bandon, Fallon & Byrne, Blackrock Cellar, Drinkstore, Mortons, Sweeneys, www.siyps.ie

A blend of Garnacha, Syrah and Monastrell from Valencia. As with all the best wines of the region this is grown at almost 600m altitude which allows for warm days and cool nights to preserve acidity. Fragrant and ripe with fleshy soft red and dark fruits and a pleasing freshness with good texture.

Bodegas Gil Luna, Strabón, Toro,Spain — €14.99

Stockists: JJ O’Driscoll Ballinlough, JC Savage Swords, Jus de Vine, Selected Independents.

From a family owned organic producer in Toro, a stone’s throw from Ribera del Duero. Made with 100% Tinta de Toro (the local clone of Tempranillo) this has berry aromas, ripe dark fruits on the palate with a toasted edge and a supple rich plum character. Try with Spring Lamb/slow roast lamb.

BEST VALUE OVER €15

Albamar Albariño, Rias Baixas,Spain — €22

Stockists: Bradleys, Matsons Grange, Youghal and Bandon, Baggot St. Wines, 64 Wines, Redmonds, Green Man Wines, www.siyps.ie

From the sub-region of Salnés — the coolest of the five sub-regions of Rias Baixas thanks to its proximity to the sea which also gives a saline edge to the wine. This is pristine and clean with peach and pear aromas, dry and clean with a crisp salty-mineral tang. Textbook Albariño.

Callejuela Blanquito Manzanilla Pasada,Spain — €27.50

Stockists: Bradleys, Matsons Grange, Youghal and Bandon, Baggot St. Wines, Blackrock Cellar, www.siyps.ie.

The full Callejuela range is worth tasting from their intense Pedro Ximinez to their nutty Amontillado. This is a good example of what Manzanilla Sherry should taste like — aromas of lemon, dried herbs and yeasty bread, crisp and bone dry on the palate with a saline edge lingering.

Museum Real Reserva Cigales,Spain — €23.95

Stockists: JJ O’Driscolls, World Wide Wines, Vintry, Redmonds, Widely available.

Made from 100% Tinta del Pais, the local clone of Tempranillo as grown in Toro and Ribera which has smaller berries and more intense flavours. This wine spends 22 months in French Oak so expect toasty vanilla aromas as well as big rich blackberry fruit flavours with plums and a hint of sage.

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