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Resalte de Penafiel, Pardo Tolosa & Alvarez y Diez


Spain emarks on a new wine revolution, embracing modern techniques while carrying the spirit of its distinctive traditions.

The dramatic increase of high quality Spanish wines from a number of previously unheralded wine growing regions has continued the Spanish wine industry’s surge into top international markets. Adherence to strict appellation laws and a tendency of Spanish wineries to upgrade their equipment and production methods has also provided a thrust for the resurgent Spanish wine business that recently has ranked just under European heavyweights (Italy and France) as truly high grade wine producers.

Traditionally, wine has been produced in just about every area of Spain, with the Rioja of Northeastern Spain being singled out for its remarkable quality. Today, additional areas are on the rise and are attracting considerable attention in international trade markets. What’s even more interesting is the fact that these new wines are also garnering high scores and numerous gold medals in top European wine competitions.

Fortunately for many Spaniards, the marvelous city of Madrid is situated in central Spain and affords its citizens relatively easy access to most of Spain’s often-oldish vineyards. Many of the vineyards have origins that are hundreds and even thousands of years old that add to the mystical aura that surrounds the towns and cities in which the vineyards and bodegas (wineries) are located. A great number of pristine castles and medieval buildings dot the winegrowing areas of Spain making the entire country a veritable wonderland for even the most modest wine enthusiast.

Spanish winemaking equipment and techniques, for the most part, are as modern as any in the world. This new enterprise has been fueled by a number of younger winery owners and winemakers that have witnessed the successes of their European Community (EC) neighbors in planting and building new wineries for the international markets.

Spanish growers have also relied on their own native grape varietals for the success of their wines. These grapes are led by the venerable Tempranillo of Rioja fame but also include a number of varietals (Garnacha, Mazuelo and Viura to name a few) that are unfamiliar to the American wine drinking public.

The emergence of small boutique-like bodegas in numerous wine areas of Spain has provided increased attention to the production of high caliber wines form Spain. This is in marked deference to the older, mass-produced wines many Spanish wineries were identified with for many centuries. These smaller, well-made wines began appearing on American shelves and restaurant wine lists as recently as four or five years ago and have grown in number at a relatively remarkable clip. This growth spurt has caused more wineries to be built and the future looks bright for even more impressive Spanish wines being imported to the United States.



A salute to three of Spain's most distinguished world-class wine producers, from among the most celebrated up and coming growing regions of the country.

Bodegas Resalte de Penafiel

The Bodegas Resalte de Penafiel as the name suggests is situated in the village of Penafiel, which in turn is located in the very heart of the of Ribera del Duero DO. It is situated some 56 Km. from the city of Valladolid, which is the capital of the region of Castilla & Leon and is located near the area’s center. The entire area is an elevated plain that is framed by mountain ranges from the east and south and is fed by the incredibly picturesque Duero River as it winds it way towards Portugal.

The winery is one of the new boutique-style wineries in the region. It was built in 2000 with ultra modern features. Resalte de Penafiel is the only winery in the region that utilizes gravity-fed juices for all of its production. Located on 80 hectares (a little over 197 acres), its vineyards are between 15 and 60 years old, a common age for vines in the area. Approximately 70% of its wines are made from the older vines, a fact that insures continuing quality.

Resalte de Penafiel’s first release came in 2003 and has catapulted the winery into international prominence with exceptional scores and awards. The company’s annual production is around 25,000 cases, still on the small side according to Spanish standards.

The company’s striking logo symbolizes the highest battlements of the famous castle of Penafiel, the ongoing historic symbol of the city.

Bodega Pardo Tolosa

Recently, noted industrialist and Pardo Tolosa President, Francisco Pardo, was quoted in an interview to the effect that his new winery, despite its recent creation, combines "technology and traditional methods of growing grapes to enhance the characteristics of quality vineyards. In this way, modernity is placed at the service of creating a traditional wine with personality, a real wine.” Such it is with the new wave of Spanish vintners, who seek to preserve some of their old ways aided by the modern trappings of a state-of-the-art winery.

Situated in the town of Albacete Alborea in the Manchuela DO area of the Castilla La Mancha growing region, the Bodega Pardo Tolosa is also an 80-hectare growing operation with a modernistic winery building. Its growing area that completely surrounds the winery is gently undulating and is well-known for low yields, a fact that actually aids the overall quality of its wines. Must of Bodega Pardo Tolosa’s emphasis is on its old vines (some are 60-80 years old) and the incredible quality juice the grapes produce. These vines are located at a height of more than 700 meters above sea level and benefit from their proximity to the cooling breezes of the Mediterranean.

Guided by noted Spanish winemaker Luis Jimenez, Bodega Pardo Tolosa has already made a mark on the international scene with excellent scores and top awards.

Bodega Alvarez y Diez

Compared to the other featured wineries, Bodega Alvarez y Diez is an old timer having been built in 1941. It rests in part of the Duero River Basin, and is mostly planted to the venerable Verdejo grape that traces its ancestry back to the 11th Century and the reign of King Alfonso VI. It is part of the Rueda Region that has been responsible for a great deal of renewed interest in Spanish wines and in particular wines from this specific area.

Brothers Alvaro and Juan de Benito are the second-generation owners of the winery and have devoted a great deal of their time to improving their dominant estate. A 1997 renovation installed new equipment and modern techniques and allowed Bodega Alvarez y Diez a new lease on life. All barrels are stored in ancient underground caves for perfect temperature control and the hilly, undulating vineyards allow for nearly ideal growing conditions.

Located in the town of Nava del Rey (King’s Plain), the winery is on the left side of the Duero River, Spain’s principal waterway for its grape-producing areas.

About The Region

Spain is a large country geographically and has more acreage under grape cultivation than any other country in the world. Overall, Spain is the third largest in terms of world-wide wine production and grapes are grown throughout every region of the country. Since the 1950’s, Spain’s winemakers have worked steadily to improve quality and with their entry into the European Union, new legal standards for wine were put in place. Today, a new generation of winemakers have quietly begun crafting spectacular wines and experimenting with varietals that would have been unthinkable only a short time ago. Wine remains an important commodity and an integral part of Spanish culture.


Roasted Lamb


Ingredients

8 pounds of lamb (preferably baby lamb)
Salt to taste
Olive Oil
Preferred seasoning for lamb


Instructions

1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit.

2. Cut the lamb into serving size pieces and season before placing into a cooking pot. Traditionally, a clay pot is used, but any type will do.

3. Pour/rub a small amount of olive oil onto each piece of lamb and add water to the pot (no more than 1/2 inch high).

4. When the lamb is in the oven, change its temperature to low heat. This dish needs, above all, time and patience - check from time to time on the water level in the pot to be sure it won’t completely evaporate.

5. When the lamb looks semi-roasted (usually after about 1 hour), take it out of the oven and flip each piece of meat so they cook evenly.

6. Place the cooking pot back in the oven and allow lab to roast until it appears completely finished. Again, check on the water level periodically. Add additional water if necessary.

7. Serve the lamb with a simple side salad of lettuce, tomato and onion with an oil/vinegar based dressing. Add salt and pepper to taste.



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