Most of you know that I have travelled to vineyards across the world: South Africa, United States of America, France, Germany, South America, Portugal, Italy, Greece and as the famous quote states by Naomi Watts:
“I always love being in the company of friends. It’s all about good conversation and great wine.”
I thought it appropriate for all you wine-lovers to have some coverage on the subject of wine.
It is my delight to introduce a guest blogger, Aitor Trabado. Aitor is a wine connoisseur, wine spectator expert, and writer. He lives in Bilbao – Spain amongst some of the most impressive Rioja wines of the world. They use the impressive Tempranillo, Viura, Garnacha Tinta, Graciano, Mazuelo, Macabeo and Garnacha grapes, which is also used around the world. I will be visiting Aitor in August and September for a full tour of the region, tasting some of the world’s finest wine.
So that you understand Rioja [ˈrjoxa] is a wine region in Spain, with Denominación de Origen Calificada (D.O.C – a. Qualified designation of origin). Rioja is made from grapes grown in the Autonomous Community of La Rioja, Navarre and the Basque province of Álava. Rioja is further subdivided into three zones: Rioja Alta, Rioja Baja and Rioja Alavesa. Many wines have traditionally blended fruit from all three regions though there is a slow growth in single-zone wines.
Without further ado, here is Aitor!
Good morning. My name is Aitor Trabado and I’ve been honored by Geoff’s asking me to post a weekly wine blog. I’m a wine enthusiast from Spain and I will try to share some thoughts with you about what I like about wine, wineries and wine tourism. I will write for the layman, not using those terms you can see in some specialized magazine that sound too pompous for the profane.
In my first entry I would like to talk about some of the wine denominations I most like. For that I will tell you first how I like my wines. Few years ago I liked a lot when wines were full bodied and strong. Now my taste has evolved towards more structured and less powerful wine. I still like strong wines, but they need to be very special for that. We will talk about those wines in upcoming entries.
I like to taste different wines. Obviously I have my favorite ones and though in the past I used to buy wine by cases, nowadays I prefer to buy two bottles tops, and keep on tasting more wines. I like to buy wines that may surprise me, wines that talk to me rather than wines that always taste the same no matter the harvest was done in a rainy year or a dry year. Recently I heard one joke about that. A group of winemakers were deciding who the best winemaker of Spain was. And one said the winemaker of this particular winery. When asked for the reason, which was partly joke, he said that this winemaker was able to put together one million bottles every year, and no matter rain, sun or snow, the wine always tasted the same. Well, these are the wines I run away from, those mainstream wines that never vary.
I like wines that are different year in and year out. Wines that show the personality of the winemaker and the character of the terroir. I’m not able to discern whether a year was dry or rainy, or the sea was close to the winery or not, but hey, that’s why the wine courses are and I’m enrolled in one to be done later in the year.
I like vertical tastings, when you taste different vintages of the same wine. There you truly appreciate the differences and the hard work the winemaker and everyone else in the winery do every year. It is amazing that one year the wine can be full bodied and well-structured and with lots of fruit, and the next year the same wine, the same terroir, the same grapevine can offer a completely different wine. I’ve been able to do vertical tastings several times and it gives a good insight of how live a wine is and how difficult is the job in a winery.
If you are a wino like me, or you would like to get into the wine world, my advice is that you taste as many wines as you can. This is the best way to identify which wines you like and which wine you don’t. And then you will educate your tasting buds to identify flavors in your wine glass.
Your taste will evolve for sure with the passing of years. Or maybe not, and you stick to the same wine once and again. I hope not, as there are so many great wines everywhere in the world just to always drink the same one. In any case, try to taste wines from different countries, from different areas, different grape varietals. You will find great wines for a few euro or dollars or pounds, there is no need to always to hot top end wines in the shop shelves. There is also a pleasure on finding this particularly good wine from a small winery at a great price. Of course sometimes it is safe to bet on the 25 euro wine, but many times you will find really good wines where you less expect it.