Welcome to an evening of Southern European delights! Both Spain and Italy have long produced outstanding wines with classics such as Rioja, Cava, Chianti and Barolo gracing our tables for many years. This evening our tasting will touch on these favourites and explore their enduring popularity, but we shall also be buckling up for a thrilling taste of the new pretenders from up and coming areas such as Priorat, Galicia and parts of southern Italy. For many centuries Portugal has been synonymous with its famous fortified tipple of Port; but tonight we shall be exploring how wine makers in the Douro Valley have been exploiting the same grape varieties to make robust, ripe, chocolatey table wines, often some of Europe's best value reds!
Part 1 Spain & Portugal
It's time to take a closer look at Iberian wine-making! The famous Tempranillo from Rioja, old-vine Garnacha from Priorat, a wine with leathery, spicy, dark fruity depths to rival anything made over the border in Chateauneuf du Pape (where the French harvest the same grape, which they call Grenache). Fragrant Albarino from Galicia, with a peachy soft juiciness reminiscent of Chardonnay, balanced by the crisp finish of a Sauvignon Blanc. Over the border in Portugal we will taste Touriga Nacional, the finest of the grape varieties used for Port, as a regular table wine. With its warming spice and velvety and rich texture, this is a grape variety you will want to return to again and again!
Part 2 Italy
With its myriad regional specialities and indigenous grape varieties, Italy can be at once fascinating, daunting and confusing to the wine drinker. Too many people take sanctuary in the reassuring words 'Pinot Grigio' on the label - but Italy has so much more to offer! We will taste the fragrantly spicy whites from the volcanic soils of Campania, made from ancient varieties such as Greco di Tufo. We will discover the majestic Nebbiolo grape, responsible for powerhouse wines such as Barolo and Barbaresco. Finally, we untangle the meanings of the label terminology - Riserva, Classico and DOC, what do these words or letters actually tell you about the juice in the bottle? Tonight, we find out!