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14 January 2007

Spanish Surprise

Vesmer As soon as one feels confident in understanding the breadth and diversity of Spanish wine, along comes one unlike any other from the vineyards of Spain.  Think I'm exaggerating?  Well, then, have you ever sampled an Iberian Muscat/Gewurztraminer blend?  Didn't think so.  However, this isn't some impossible-to-find, micro-production offering from an obscure winery.  This wine is produced in volume by Torres - one of the country's most recognizable wineries.  Think of it as a Spanish gem, hiding in plain sight.  'It' is Vina Esmeralda from the Catalunya region of Northeastern Spain.

Unlike the honeyed Moscato of northern Italy, or even the tangy Muskateller from Austria, this Muscat-dominated blend is simultaneously dry, rich and exotic.  V.Esmeralda offers the telltale muscat scents of fresh table grapes, augmented with exotic fruits, courtesy its 15% Gewurz.  In the mouth, V.E. is weighty without being sticky.  Once its heft passes the tongue, a smooth, velour-like texture takes center stage.  Considering this wine possesses such full-body, one is further surprised by its svelte 11% alcohol content.  The result?  A wine that's perfect solo, with traditional Spanish tapas (e.g. bacon-wrapped dates), sweet & sour pork or even crabcakes.

The details: Torres Vina Esmeralda 2005 ($11-$15).  A blend of Muscat (85%) and Gewurztraminer (15%).  Imported by Dreyfus Ashby & Co.

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Comments

Marcus

Hi Beau,

Yet another convincing bargain wine from Torres. This is an especially noteworthy one and I think you've done a good job describing it.

A friend introduced it to me last month. At first It's easy to underestimate. But it travels well (my parents love it so much they want cases of it which is unheard of) and so few wines pull this kind of dry wine middleground so well (for so little in terms of price). A very remarkable wine.

vanessa

hey, where did you go? email me when you get a chance. ciao.

beau

Marcus - nothing like a (relatively) cheap wine, which impresses the folks.

V - oy, work, work, & more work..

Bill Wilson

I had the opportunity to sample this wine back in November at a food and wine festival. Absolutely stunning, and I need to go hunt some down.

beau

Bill - indeed. I need to grab another bottle or two before the shop is sold out of the stuff.

Tammy

Thanks for the tip on that. I'm not big into whites, but that sounds like something I'd like.

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