I received so many and so sharp criticism on my first contribution to “Iberians on wine” (high prices, low quality, lousy wines) that this time I decided to pay a visit to my regular suppliers -Siguero, Barolo, Lavinia- and at the same time do the wine shopping for my summer holydays in Asturias. I don’t know yet what I enjoyed the most: the time I spent choosing the wines -there were quite a few people wine-hunting, we chatted and street talked quite a bit – or tasting the wines later in Asturias.

To my mind the choice was a knock out. I should start telling you about Etim Selección Syrah D. O. Montsant 2002 – 100% Syrah (15,5 €). It is a wine of a saturated purple colour, spectacularly crammed with fruit, full bodied, roundness and richness in mouth, moderates tannin with a future, perhaps a hint of tobacco. Top notch. (For the record: 5 to 8 people on average took part with me on the wine-tasting, and these notes are a summary of different opinions, it goes without saying that I never find tobacco, leather, chocolate and all that stuff in wine. )

Let us then go to Manto Negro 2003 Casa Padrina, Benissalem, Majorca, a superb blend of Manto Negro, Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot (8,2 €). Medium deep ruby, light nose with an aroma of spicy oak. Medium to full bodied, Flavorful in mouth, blackberry and blueberry fruitiness, smoky oak in the background? In two or three years it will be superb.

I also enjoyed Arrayan Syrah 2002 T, D.O. Mentrida- 100% Syrah. I admire the dazzling effort of this fast growing D.O. Opaque / dark ruby. The wine shows a moderate nose of blackberries with a touch of chocolate. Beautifully integrated tannins with a flawless balance of acidity and alcohol. Unfortunately, being more expensive (28 €), it is not in the running. Try it anyway.

Last but not least, the Nekeas. First Nekeas Merlot 2002 TC D.O. Navarra. 100 % Merlot (6 €). Deep ruby, strong scent sweet smoky, toasty oak mixed with blackberry jam. Round, medium bodied, mineral scents & earthy notes (again I didn’t find them). Tannins are sweet and well integrated.

Secondly, Nekeas 2001 TC D.O. Navarra. A blend of 50% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30 % Tempranillo and 20 % Merlot (6€). Dark ruby and purple colour. Smoky, toasty & blackberry aromas. Exquisitely balanced oak and Cabernet, ripe fleshy, excellent acidity a bit bitter in the background. Both Nekeas are easy-to-drink, attractive wines now but they promise to be even better in five years.

Well, let’s wrap up this awful tittle-tattle here, but don’t worry, I will be back again. Remember good things always come in threes.

by guest contributor Fernando Vigón