It’s a verifiable fact that the extent of the average American’s knowledge of Spain is based solely on Madonna’s “Take a Bow” video.
Some of my readers have complained my wine suggestions are too expensive. Ok. It was only two people: my husband and someone named Rachel Goldman. And my husband is just hating because I spent all the Disneyland vacation money on a bottle of Penfolds. I mean, who cares? I’ll put on a blue dress and sing that song from Frozen. I do that at karaoke every weekend anyway. And would a toddler really know that a churro was from Costco? I digress.
I get it. The problem with drinking good wine is that its impossible to return to drinking anything less. Once you go Pauliac, you don’t go back. And the thing with fine wine, much like fine cars, fine women, and fine Frappuccinos, they’re expensive. There are delicious values out there, though. Lesser known and up-and-coming regions are a great way to find a fantastic bottle without overdrawing the checking account… again.
I know no one would ever describe Spain as up-and-coming. Archaeological digs have unearthed evidence of sophisticated winemaking tools in the Valdepeñas region from as early as 700BC. It is ranked third in amount of wine produced in the world, after stuck up France and sexy, oily, disorganized Italy. But most people will say they A) “dislike Spanish wine”, B) “have never tried it”, and C) “Why are you asking me this? I’m pumping gas. Please stop touching my arm.”
There is more to Spain than big, aged, leathery, dusty, rip your face off Tempranillos. And, while several Riojas rank up there with Bordeaux and Burgundies in price, there is a treasure trove of sparklers and rosés, or rosados, that over deliver on their crazy low prices. Just like a Crunch Wrap Supreme around 1 AM. Here are two you should immediately snatch up.
Cava gets a bad wrap. Like its just poor man’s Champagne. And I guess it kind of is, but only in price. Get your hands on this pretty little bottle. Literally pretty. It has a vintage pretty girl on the label, making it perfect for any place that kind of looks like Monica Geller’s pretty apartment. And pretty in taste: its smoky flavors are punctuated with fresh acidity and perfect, baby bubbles. The fact that Cava is produced in the same way as Champagne (Méthode Champenoise) is the best kept secret in sparkling wine. Well, that and that if you buy three bottles of Cristal in a club, you automatically get a congratulatory text from Lil’ Wayne. Somehow, even his texts are hoarse. This sparkler is perfect as an apéritif, with a dessert or cheese course, and in all bathtubs.
A rosé made from little known red grape Mencía. And unlike the Carlos Mencia Show, its completely unique. BOOM! 2005 joke!! Mencía is herbacious, with a hint of bell pepper flavor that is also present in Cabernet Franc, Chilean Cabernet Sauvignons, and several of Chili’s® fantastic Lunch Combo offerings, starting as low as $6. It also has beautiful juicy strawberry notes, with a hint of minerality in thanks to the clay and slate soil of Northwestern Spain from which its birthed. I always prefer a rosé with a little more junk in the trunk for food pairing and this babe’s medium body making it a great pairing for duck, Asian seafood dishes, and Chili’s® Smoked Chicken Quesadilla, smoked over real pecan chips!
There you go. Two easy, cheap ways to feel like you’re already in Spain. Go ahead and take a four hour nap. You’ve earned it, cariño
This post was not sponsered by Chili’s®… but I’m open to the conversation. The baby back ribs are in your court, guys.