So a little less than a year ago a colleague (slightly reluctantly it must be said) agreed to allow an importer to come and show us some wines, after five minutes of meeting he called me in with words along the lines of – ‘Do you want to come and taste some Spanish wines? I doubt it will be particularly interesting but you never know’ – this is how we tend to work – one of us has a meeting – but we try to taste as a minimum as a pair and there are two others who we like to join us to give their opinions too. If there is anyone else around who is available to taste too we try to include them – partly because it increases ownership of wines we actually buy and partly because if several people taste and come to a conclusion we hope to ensure the best decision comes off – it would be a shame to miss out on a worthwhile wine because someone is having an off day and equally we hope that poor wines won’t get through. We are also aware that because we taste a lot of wine our own personal tastes have become somewhat eclectic and we have to balance that with commercialism – this doesn’t mean eradicating the most interesting wines, but it does mean recognising those things that will need extra help to sell.
So anyway – despite my lengthy digression – there I was with my colleague sat in front of the importer of this (and many other) wines wondering whether we were about to taste a selection of wines quite as bad as those that had recently been sent in by another Spanish specialist. In short we were not expecting great things – but then we tasted the wines. Mostly Spanish with the odd Portuguese or other wine thrown in (I can’t remember the exact number of wines but say 10-12) I can honestly say that there wasn’t a bad wine there – and some – at the price were really rather good. We shortlisted 8-10 wines and having some shop managers due in for a meeting in the morning we tasted again with them and decided on 6 wines – with plenty of others that we could buy if we wanted to in the future.
This was one of those wines that not only made it to our initial selection but has now become part of our core range.
Rafael Cambra, El Bonnehomme 2010 , Valencia DO
50% Cabernet, 50% Monastrell. On opening there was a definite funk to the wine which blew off. Fresh blackcurrent, lovely acidity soft plump tannins, for me this tastes exactly how I expect a modern, well made Spanish wine ought to taste. No oak just pure well defined fruit, good length and really clean. At sub £10 it’s a bit of a bargain.