I have been drinking my way though budget wines of late.  It is always fun to try wines at the other end of the spectrum.  The following wines warrant the purchase of two bottles.  One to age and another to drink.  It’s important for wines to be drinkable by more than a few.  Wine drinking culture in Asia still has a long way to go even though expensive wines are highly sought after to build into jaw dropping collections.  China’s love affair with French Bordeaux kept the industry afloat during the most recent economic crisis.  Wine as a alternative vehicle for investment in a region known solely for punting and gambling make for an interesting mix.  There’s too much money in Asia so investors are constantly on the lookout for the next big thing which will skyrocket in price.  Prior to French Bordeux it was vintage raw Pu’erh teas and now it’s rare whiskies.

Spanish wines are late to the table and as typical of the culture, where siestas after lunch are still the norm – the wineries are now making a big push to market their wines in Asia.  As the result of the economic rout, everyone is on the push to find sales in China but there’s one big problem – no one is buying, anti-corruption graft in full swing.  One does not seek out Spanish wines for investment.  The ideal customer is a wine geek on the prowl for something non-French with a discerning palette for expensive elixirs.  I seem to come late to the table as I seem to enjoy things after everyone else has had their day with it.  It is the seeking-out-bargains model, value investing.  Spanish wines represent a somewhat more affordable price point for normal consumers.  I buy to consume solely for the fact these are wines that were out of reach a few years ago.

Spanish wineries are some of the best in the world, rivaling the most traditional powerhouses in France.  One of the most special attributes aside from its distinct taste is the ability to be affordable, which is more than anyone can say for French wines.  All the Spanish wines from this tasting had one thing in common, dark colours and jammy consistency.  Spanish wines seem to have a heavy earth taste with lots of sediment, once you get past it one may find an abundance of coffee and berry notes on the finish.  Big and bold would be the best way to describe it.

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$800 HKD per bottle, 100% grenache grapes and there’s not much to differentiate this wine from the others.  It’s hard tasting and a very manly type of wine.  Best to pair this one with food.

Pro taste buds list the following: pencil lead, scorched earth, espresso, cherry and blueberry liqour.

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Contador 2010 – Not easy to drink for a beginner like me.  94% Tempronillo and 6% Garnacha.  This wine was hard to drink so it’s perfect for advanced wine palettes that can appreciate the taste and feel of berry jams.  Wines that taste bad to me are generally very expensive.  I lack the appreciation for sophistication.  It’s a rioja and quite expensive at $2500 HKD.

Pro taste buds – blackberry and blueberry.

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Nit de nin 2010 – 1000 bottle production every year.  The early vintages from this 3 acre winery are highly sought after.  Nit is out of the Priorat region.  The wine is easy to drink.  It’s a very interesting test market to produce wine solely out of 3 acres.  I wouldn’t use 3 acres to grow cash crops let alone wine grapes which are very labour intensive.  This would be a fun purchase solely to see what they can do with so little.  The small production also makes the wine quite expensive.  Economies of scale not at work here.  Another wine at $800/bottle.

Pro taste – mineral, truffle, licorice, asian spices, blueberry and cinamon

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El Nido Clio 2010 – This is the affordable version of Bodegas El Nido (the wine winning all the top scores).  The Clio is tailored for the American palette.  70% Monastrell and 30% Cabernet Sauvignon.  I found this wine easy to drink (must be the lower price), I taste caramel, vanilla and cherries.  The wine was fragrant with a very strong nose.  A Jumilla wine and affordable, $400/bottle.  My favorite.  If I had the money I would sample the award winning wine – El Nido.  The 2004 vintage is the most sought after but it’s out of my price range.

Pro taste – black currants, dark plums, blackberries, vanilla and herbs.

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