Originally posted by Mimik:
I've tasted a lot of Spanish wines in my life and was curious on your thoughts about them, especially priorat. Is this a region that should one day become as famous as Bordeaux or burgundy? Do you feel Spanish wines are underrated by critics ?
Once again, "Spanish wine" is like saying "French wine". There's a difference between Saumur and Corbieres and Alsace just as there is between Rias Baixas, Priorat, and Bullas. So drinking a lot of Spanish wine is the same as drinking a lot of French wine.
A place like Saumur, which isn't all that large, is larger than Priorat in terms of hectares under vine. Bordeaux of course, is vastly bigger than both combined so just by random luck, you might have a better chance of finding a decent wine.
While many vines in Priorat may be old, those aren't the ones that made the reputation of the region. The first modern pioneers didn't believe you could make great wine from Carinena and Garnacha so they planted Cab, Merlot, and Syrah to hedge their bets and those wines are the ones that first received critical attention.
Eventually some of the producers started to rely more on the other grapes, so it's difficult to say much about potential, given that you have wines from the early 1990s that may be heavy on young Cab and today you have different blends.
But that's only one region. My guess, based on having been drinking those wines since 1991, is that they're never going to be the best from Spain.
Obviously that's just personal preference talking. As far as whether or not any region will be as "famous" or as "good" as Bordeaux, that's personal preference again. Last week we did a blind tasting and in that tasting was a 2000 La Conseillante. At 12 years in, even a long-lived Bordeaux should be showing something. It was the only 2000, everything else was 2001, but the point was to be fair to Bordeaux.
Tasting everything blind, each in its own glass in any order one chose, I knew instantly what my favorite wine was and I also knew it was from Rioja. My next favorite was Ribera del Duero.
Doesn't mean the Bordeaux was bad in any way, although it still had notes of cedar that reminded me of a hamster cage. But it sure wasn't as good as the others, at least to me. As to whether wines from Spain are underrated by critics or not, that's a matter of indifference to me since I figure I've had as much or more than most critics anyway.
I sure do love old Bordeaux. And if someone is pouring, I'm more than happy to drink it. But out of several thousand bottles, I have maybe a couple cases of Bordeaux and many cases of wine from Rioja and Ribera.
BTW - I didn't see any posts about it and thought about bringing it up myself, but if you caught it, Tom did a great job on Rioja a few issues back. Interestingly, he brought up something that few people pay attention to, which is the fact that while winemaking in the region is ancient, what we think of as "traditional" doesn't go back eons, either in Rioja or Bordeaux.