Monday, May 23, 2011

The Wines Of Spain...Pintia (Vega Sicilia) A Pleasant Surprise!

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I have never been much of a fan of Spanish wines, that is, until I tasted Pintia on my last visit to Miami.  I didn't even have to taste it, just the smell that permeated the air when it was uncorked told me I was going to be in for a nice surprise. 

Acquired by the legendary Vega Sicilia estate in 1997,  Pintia's vineyards are 30- 50-year-old Tinto de Toro (Tempranillo). Toro is located further along the Duero river from Vega Sicilia, in hotter, wilder territory as one approaches the Portuguese border (after which, the Duero becomes the famous Douro of Port fame). The Vega group began researching the area in 1997, with experimental vinifications and judicious purchases of top vineyard sites, half of which were already planted with mature 25 to 45 year old vines. The estate now possesses 96 hectares of land, including a state-of-the-art vinification and ageing facility. The 2001 vintage was the first judged worthy of release, in a limited quantity of 80 000 bottles.

The wine is 100% Tinto de Toro, the superior local clone of Tempranillo, aged 1 year in new oak (70% French, 30% American). It displays the style and class of a Vega Sicilia Group wine, but with the extra spicy, forceful presence of a Toro. A fantastic newcomer to the Spanish scene!

In the past, whenever I have purchased a Spanish wine it has been a fairly inexpensive one, mainly to complement a paella or another Spanish dish.  As I have mentioned before, a native dish should be cooked with the olive oil of the region and served with a wine of the same.  This is called "terroir".  What grows together, goes together.  It's as easy as that.

When you have an exceptional wine such as this, think of the wine first and order around it.  At this particular dinner we had a roasted pork loin with pears, cooked in a wood fired oven,  accompanied by truffled french fried potatoes.  A very "woodsy" menu and one which complemented the wine to a T.

Although Pintia is not inexpensive, ($75 - $85 retail) it represents excellent value for a wine of this category from one of Spain's greatest estates.

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