Updated on 9 and 10 Jul.
I went to this year's tasting of the winners of the New Wave Spanish Wine Awards yesterday. This is an annual competition involving judging samples of Spanish wines submitted to a jury of tasters. To qualify for the competition, wines have to be either imported into the UK or to have been shown at this year's Wines from Spain generic wine tasting, on which I reported in Spain's frontiers.
This is clearly a relatively limited subset of the wines that Spaniards themselves regard as Spain's best. Anyone who attends the annual tastings organised by either the Peñín guide or La Guia, as Julia and I have, would be rather mystified by the selection. The range of wines shown yesterday from Spain's two most important fine wine regions, Rioja and Ribera del Duero, were particularly disappointing. But there were a couple of 2001 reds from other regions that offer British wine drinkers a rare chance to get their hands on a complex, bottle aged wine by the single bottle, and probably the most impressive categories were the small collections of sweet and fortified wines. (Mind you, wine judge Tim Atkin MW said that this year's sherry submissions were more limited than in previous years, which seems a shame.)
I will be publishing my notes of course (now available here), and I suspect that the likes of Victor de la Serna, a vocal supporter of the best of Spanish wine, may be a mite disappointed by what was in this particular showcase. However, the British wine market is about nothing if not bargains. I noted that six of the 60-odd wines I tasted, mainly reds because I have reported recently on Spain's whites, represented seriously good value (GV).
One of the wines I marked GV is that very rare thing, a well-made fizz retailing at bargain basement prices. Yllera's Cantosán Brut NV Rueda is really quite respectable for something supposedly retailing at £5.99 a bottle from www.spanishwinesonline.co.uk - although the website has no record of this wine at the time of writing.
9 Jul I have now spoken to the owners of Spanish Wines Online, the importer A & A Wines, who were listed as a point of contact because they import other Yllera wines. But in fact they do not import this award-winning wine at all yet. They are considering it, and will let me know if they decide to do so. Apparently sales of this wine really took off in Spain when there was a wave of strong anti-Catalan sentiment that depressed sales of Cava.
10 Jul And now I have some technical specifications of this wine and can confirm that it is made by the laborious traditional method as in Champagne. As you can see, it looks very respectable for the price. If only we could buy it!