I have been watching the London Olympics these days with the same attitude I taste wines. I admire the devoted search for perfection of both athletes and vignerons and how they try to improve their last jump or creation. I do not like how the games are often reported, as a competition between countries with the only goal of winning more medals. Similarly, I am not interested in the point system to measure quality of wines, that fosters a shallow understanding of the world of wine. In the spirit of “Chariots of Fire”, my favorite all time sports movie, we compete against our spirits, we train our souls.

Now that I have set the record straight, I would like to talk about three Olympic wines I have tried recently that live up to the dreams of the best athletes: citius, altius and fortius.

My choice of a “Citius” wine, one that takes your fast far away, is Mas de Ledas, a discovery made in the company of Benjamin Lana, the supreme wine connoisseur among my friends. We tried it in the restaurant “Surtopia”, an imaginative homage in Madrid to the Bay of Cadiz cuisine. Benja suggested this wine that I had never heard about. It comes from Bodegas Leda Viñas Viejas, of the Masaveu group, in Tudela de Duero. Mas de Leda 2008 totally suprised me, with a perfect and striking combination of fruit notes. At a price of circa 15 euros, this is the Usain Bolt of the new Spanish reds.

The award for an “Altius” wine goes to Borsao Tres picos 2009, a young red made only from garnacha grapes, from Borja, in the dry region of Aragon. I served it in a wine tasting event for American friends and it quickly became the star among the different wines presented. Borsao Tres Picos challenges your ideas about Spanish reds and takes you to a higher stage. It sells for very good price, around 12 euros.

My “Fortius” wine is no other than Museum Real Reserva 2004, a strong red wine from the Cigales region, Valladolid, that I tasted this week in La Coruña. Cigales is best known for its rosé wine, and yet it also makes impressive reds. Museum Real has a weird name name but it is a wonderful wine, made with tempranillo grapes. It has nothing to envy the Ribera del Duero wines in its surroundings. It improves with decanting and is modestly priced at 12 euros.