Plenty of people know the Tempranillo-based red wines from Rioja, but how many people gave other Spanish wines a chance? I'm here to tell you about 4 wines from Iberia.
Trabanco "Poma Aura" Sidra 2007 from Asturias - this is not really a wine, but a cider. Made in northern Spain, the bubbles were created using the traditional (Champagne) style. [Wondering what that style is? Leave me a comment!] This cider is low in alcohol, and a blend of apples is used, including crab apple. The cider was cloudy and had a straw color, and the bubbles were small. It smelled of honey suckle and apple. It is a dry cider, with only a touch of honey sweetness and a lilac-tasting finish, with yeasty and mineral tastes in the background. As you might guess, this cider pairs well with pork loin and apple sauce or pork with sauteed onions.
Xarmant Arabako Txakolina 2011 from Basque Country - I know, it looks hard to pronounce, doesn't it? The first word is like the French "charmant" and the last word is pronounced like "tchokolina." It is a white wine made of different grapes, fermented in steel and bottled with a tiny bit of carbonation. The color of this white was a cloudy very light straw, and it had a funky, earthy smell followed by stone fruit and citrus. Stone fruit means light summer fruits with a big pit like peach and apricot. The taste was tart, mineral, and salty. It is another low-alcohol beverage and does not have strong notes (flavors). It would pair best with oysters or clams, something fresh and light-flavored enough to match the wine.
Vinya D'irto Terra Alta Rosado 2011 from Catalunya - Catalunya is in the Northeast part of Spain, near the French border. It is made of Grenache grapes that are known as "hairy Grenache" because the grapes' leaves grow with fuzz on them. The wine smells of strawberry, cherry, and yeast, and tastes like it smells, but is dry. It has medium body and is acidic. Some people tasted a bitter finish, but I really liked this rose. It pairs well with brie, BBQ, and other rich and fatty foods.
Bodegas Ponce "Buena Pinta" Sidra 2009 from Castile-La Manca - from mid-Eastern Spain, this wine comes from one of the only vintners in the region using local grapes. It is a very dark red to purple wine, and smells of petroleum, acid, and currant. The wine has a lot of tannin, and is spicy with deep juices, smoke, and anise. Definitely a wine to drink with food, it would pair well with steak au poivre. It probably is also better consumed on the second to fourth days after opening, to allow air time to calm down the wine. Note: this vintner also still uses his feet to press the wine! A real traditionalist, and only in his 20s. ;-)