The Iberian Peninsula — home of Spain, Portugal, and perhaps Andorra — is a great place to explore — an intriguing combination of wildness and sophistication that is reflected both in its geographies and its wines. For the wine drinker, it has great diversity and often offers great value.
Here are several tasting notes of wines from the two countries, mainly full-bodies reds, but also some whites and even a couple of ports.
We also feature the diverse portfolio of premium wines from Spain’s Gil Family estates —interesting pours with labels to match.
If you are new to the wines, they are worth paying attention to and following across the vintages.
Gil Family “Shaya” verdejo 2013 ($12)
Firm and full with pure green flavors of apple and kiwi. Savory notes at the edges and good acidity in the finish.
Juan Gil “Honoro Vera” Jumilla monastrell 2013 ($9)
Very lovely, rounded, ripe cherry flavors, yet not lush or too fruit forward. It has a tangy, spicy finish. Monastrell is the Spanish name for mourvedre, but here the wine reminds me more of a big pinot noir.
Juan Gil “18 Meses” Jumilla red wine 2013 ($26)
Mostly monastrell with cab sauvignon and syrah added. It has nice intensity of red and dark fruits with a closing hint of caramel from the barrels. It’s a big wine — 15.5 percent alcohol — but well-structured.
Gil Family “Atteca” old vines Calatayud 2013 ($15)
A garnacha — it is rich and satisfying with a lot of dark cherry flavor with some coffee bean notes.
Gil Family Can Blau Montsant 2013 ($15)
Nice, rich raspberry flavors — almost like jam but neither that heavy nor sweet — with some notes of chocolate and roasted chestnuts. Great texture and length. I fell in love with this wine!
Nortico Minho alvarhino 2014 ($15)
Enticing green aromas with a fresh creaminess and flavors of lime and kiwi and a crisp finish —like a Portuguese sauvignon blanc.
Vale do Bomfim Douro red wine 2012 ($11)
This is a good drink-it-on-a-chilly-evening wine with oak-influenced dark fruitiness. It’s still tight and a little burly, so decant it or give it time to open in the glass.
Jose Maria da Fonseca “Periquita Reserva” Peninsula de Setubal ($17)
A blend of regional grapes. It has ripe, rounded flavors of dark Bing cherries, chocolate and a little cream with mild tannins. Quite enjoyable.
Monte da Ravasqueira Alentejano reserve 2012 ($12)
An almost equal blend of touriga nacional and syrah — it is not complex, but it does have a straight-forward satisfaction of red fruits with a finishing freshness.
Warre’s “Otima 10” 10-year-old tawny Port ($26)
Light molasses flavors — some honey, some toffee, good acidity — a nice, pleasant tawny.
Cockburn’s special reserve Port ($19)
A little coarse and heavy with dark, ripe fruitiness.