Feeling adventurous? We’ve got two off-the-wall Spanish wines for you to try…
Maverick winemakers, like Rafa Bernabé at Bodegas Bernabé Navarro in Alicante, are no longer seen as oddities, as more and more producers are going back to their roots and following a more “natural” process in the vineyard and winery.
Rafa founded the Bodega in 1999 and manages the vineyard organically. His focus is on little-known, indigenous grape varieties and his hands-off approach in the winery allows his wines to really show their sense of place and express the terroir in which they are produced.
Rafa has planted vines for his white wines on sandy soils near to the sea, where the sea breezes keep the vines cool in the heat of the day. His red wine vines are planted further inland up in the hills, where the altitude keeps temperatures down, especially at night.
He also harvests early to retain the acidity in the grapes, which prevents the wines from becoming, fat, flabby and too jammy.
Rafa allows the wine to ferment spontaneously, without added yeasts and uses ancient, clay amphorae as fermentation vessels. Unfined and with no added sulphur, the results are hugely characterful wines where no two vintages are the same.
Trago Largo 2016 is a bright and juicy wine made from Monastrell grapes (called Mourvèdre in France). Definitely not your heavy Spanish red, this wine is lighter and fresher than expected though still has plenty of body and tannin.
Its intense nose of cherries and berries is complemented with flavours of raspberries and blackberries on the palate, together with a herbal, almost liquorice finish.
Benimaquía Tinajas 2015 is an orange wine, which is essentially a white wine which has been left to macerate on its skins for a long period of time – in this case 6 months! Made from Moscatel grapes in the amphorae, it’s dark bronze in colour.
This wine has divine aromas of peach and apricot. Dry with some tannin, giving it a chewy mouthfeel, it has flavours of rich lemon and stone fruit and a touch of spice on the finish.
Being quite full-on, these wines are best drunk with food – grilled lamb chops, vegetable tagine or herby roast peppers & aubergines.