2018 AT Roca Métode Tradicional Brut Reserva, Penedès, A$45
Labelled as Clàssic Penedès as opposed to regular Cava, so requiring adherence to a more strict set of quality benchmarks, this is fantastic sparkling wine showing both power and subtlety. A pale ale colour and fine bead are followed by pristine citrus and melon fruits with a fine line of flaked pastry. It then shows exceptional balance of silky acidity with highly complex fruit that is more in the toasty spectrum, before a very long and elegant finish.
2019 Descendientes de J. Palacios Pétalos, Mencía, A$66
A powerful expression of Mencía from this iconic winery, boasting complexity, precision and fruit focus. There is fantastic colour before it opens with a delicious array, from cherry pip and florals to rolling tobacco and spice, all wrapped up in a cloak of high-quality oak. The palate is vibrant and juicy with layers of ripe red and dark fruits underscored by beautifully balanced and chewy tannins before a long, youthful finish. Exceptional now but will be even better with a couple more years in bottle.
2018 Clos Figueras Serras Del Priorat, Priorat, A$55
A well-priced introduction to this classic region from a top local producer, this should be a cellar staple for all Spanish wine fans. Crafted from a blend of garnacha, carignan, cabernet sauvignon and syrah, the first impression is of brooding slaty minerality before mulberry, spice and aged meat slowly arise. The palate shows exceptional balance: layers of fine tannins, juicy acidity and generous fruit all handled to perfection before a long and impressive finish. Delicious now and over the next decade.
2018 Capçanes Lasendal Selecció, Montsant, A$42
Sourced from Montsant, which almost surrounds Priorat and is a happy hunting ground for high-quality red wines, this blend of garnacha and syrah has personality plus with its layers of blackberry, tar, wood smoke, charcuterie and white pepper aromas. It’s rustic, in a good way. The palate is dry, fleshy and rich; baked earth and raspberry fruits are well supported by a rich line of sandy tannins before a bone dry and meat-friendly finish.
2019 Coto de Gomariz The Flower and the Bee, Ribeiro, A$49
This wine is the pick from the Flower and the Bee range, which has been created to showcase Galician wines made from lesser known varieties. Here, treixadura shows its style as a delicious local alternative to albariño. Bright and pure aromas of floral, lemon pith and lanolin are followed by a chalky, crisp palate with a gentle textural weight, and flavours of pear and citrus.
2019 4Kilos Vinicola 12 Volts Callet Blend, Binissalem-Mallorca, A$79
A very different side to Spain. From vineyards on the island of Mallorca with local varieties callet and manto negro blended with syrah, cabernet sauvignon and merlot. A complex red with scents of the Mediterranean (dried herbs and earth) well supported by cherry pip, mulberry and spice. A wild ride. Bone dry and mid-weight, earthy and tobacco flavours lead with dark fruits underneath. Tannins are firm but open-knit before the wine finishes with a flurry of black olives and pepper.
2019 Serra i Barceló Aucalà Blanca, Terra Alta, A$37
From the Catalan high country with hot, dry summers and very cold winters comes this white grenache that beautifully showcases the savoury kick in these mountain wines. Rich aromas of honeysuckle, peach skin, florals, and oak spice lead into a dry, full-bodied and savoury palate given impact by a nice little touch of acidity. It’s quite understated but also immensely drinkable.
2018 Torres Coronas Tempranillo, Catalonia, A$20
A different expression of tempranillo that is blended with cabernet sauvignon. From the coastal region of Catalonia and a slightly softer style. It’s quite a reserved and laid-back version of the variety with that classic mix of fruit, oak with fine balance. There is a delightful blend of red cherry, tobacco and baked earth fruits, with the cabernet sauvignon coming to the party with fruit pastilles. The palate is then fleshy and spicy before a long and supple finish with drying tannins.
2019 Viña D’Mateo Massimo Selección, Galicia, A$53
A more classic godello from Ribeira Sacra. The wine starts out with a pale colour before launching into expressive and generous aromas of honeysuckle, just-ripe pineapple and spice with a slight honeyed edge. In the mouth there is a distinct acid cut underpinning the fullish body with fruits slightly more exotic – showing nectarine, pith and florals – before finishing clean and bright with good length.
2018 Altolandon Mil Historias Bobal Organic, Manchuela, A$41
One of the more interesting Spanish varieties, bobal is apparently named after a cow’s head which the grapes resemble in shape. It turns up savoury and rustic to the max with deep-set peppered steak aromas with a core of dark, earthy fruits underneath. It’s firm as well, but has ample fruit to match up to a line of sandy tannins before finishing with freshly laid tar and spice. A slow-cooked meat special.
2020 Callejuela Blanco de Hornillos Vino Blanco, Andalucía, A$37
One of the new breed of unfortified palominos from around Jerez, this unoaked example was crafted with fruit grown close to Sanlúcar de Barrameda. Aromas are reserved yet powerful with a wide array of honeydew melon and wheat with a faint floral edge. Sanlúcar saltiness emerges on the bone-dry and full-bodied palate which is creamy thanks to its low acidity. A savoury, earthy and mineral-tinged finish.
2020 Celler del Roure Safrà, Valencia, A$55
The mandó grape variety was thought to be extinct until the owners of Cellar del Roure found a hectare in their vineyards. Since then, another old, little parcel has also been found in Galicia. Blended here with arcos, there is a distinct nod to Beaujolais with its whole bunch spice and fleshy red cherry, raspberry fruits. It is similarly juicy and supple but tarry, black earthy flavours then take it in a more rustic direction before finishing with a spicy kick.