Author: Damian Carrington
I will come clean. I love Spain and the Spanish. This is a love that has deep roots; roots that I can trace back to a ski trip to the Sierra Nevada at the age of 11 and having Ponche Caballero delivered from a fire extinguisher by friendly locals before we left the chalet for a half-day visit to the Alhambra in Grenada. My friends thought it boring (the Alhambra, not the skiing), but I was spell-bound and have been ever since. This love led to a big chunk of my final year at university researching the horrors of the Spanish Civil War and the transition of Spain from dictatorship to constitutional monarchy, as well as an increasing love of Sherry. This led, in turn, to me winning the Lustau Scholarship a few years later which led to an unforgettable trip to Jerez, courtesy of that great Sherry house, during the local Feria, which in turn led to terrible attempts at Flamenco and much good-humoured Spanish laughter (sadly my mastery of Flamenco matches my mastery of the Spanish language).
While my love of Spain was born in the south I have now been fortunate enough to travel all over the peninsula in search of great wines and have, I am happy to say, found more than a few, as well as some equally great people along the way.
I read recently that one should “respect the past but not cling to it” and that, I think, encapsulates what I love about the Spanish themselves. They have a tremendous and far-reaching respect for the traditions that have moulded them, but a willingness to move forward and embrace new thoughts and ideas; a willingness to reinterpret their inheritance for a modern age if you like. This is as true for wine as it is for food, design or banking; but it is wine we are interested in here.
From north to south there are producers of genuinely world-class wines, increasingly looking to interpret local varieties for a modern audience. It is always invidious to name names; but do look out for the wines of Telmo Rodríguez in Galicia, Rioja, Cebreros and Málaga; the wines of Alvaro Palacios in Rioja, Priorat and Bierzo; the brilliant Garnachas from Domaine Lupier in Navarra; outstanding sparkling wines from Raventós i Blanc and Gramona; and last – but by no means least – the brilliant Sherries from Lustau.
Browse our range of Spanish wines on bbr.com.