This is one of those unexpected finds that might become your next house wine. I was preparing my private wine dinner at home for the first weekend of January. When my menu was decided, I came to my favorite wine store to buy the wines. Campos Reales, an unoaked red wine from La Mancha, Spain was in my mind, when composing the third course of my menu.
I needed wine that had a lot of character, yet it wasn’t too big to overpower my smoked salmon/spinach rolls. To my disappointment, the wine manager told me that the distributor was out of stock till maybe February. Well, that didn’t help. It was obvious that I will have to improvise.
When I asked my friend, the wine manager Tryg, what he would recommend instead, a wine that would be similar style to Campos Reales (and unoaked), we walked through isles and pointed out few bottles. The last one was Las Valles. I looked at the label and it said: Tempranillo, Garnacha, Syrah. Hmm, sounds pretty big red to me.
“Are you sure it’s not a big wine?” I asked Tryg. He promised me it’s not – and that it would be probably his favorite out of those he showed me so far. I grabbed 3 bottles. The price was unbelievable and I figured – let’s open one a taste it before my guests come to wine dinner party and I embarrass myself.
Wow, that wine was fantastic! So I went on-line and looked it up. I learned that: “Las Valles” is produced by Bodegas Virgen del Águila, a modern, progressive cooperative near the town of Paniza that also produces wines under the “ia” label for Hand picked selections. The bodega offers a wealth of vines (nearly 5,500 acres!) planted in prime terroir (more than 2,500 ft above sea level!) nestled against the Iberico mountain range.
This includes a wealth (nearly 190 acres) of old, 50+ year-old Garnacha, Tempranillo and Macabeo vines, as well as newer plantings of international varietals. ”
This red blend was stainless steel fermented and never saw an oak. Well, I can tell you, this may as well be my new house wine. Especially for the price of $ 7.99 I paid for it. That’s a serious steel!
Beautiful aroma of fresh red berries, cherries or raspberries. On the palate this is clean, medium body wine. Really nice exposure of mixed wild berries flavors spiced up with Syrah (or is it old vines Garnacha?). Either way, Las Valles is totally impressive wine, especially for that price. Complex, balanced with perfect acidity to pair easily with many foods. Loved it, and so did everybody else at my wine dinner.
We might have just found our next favorite! See, sometimes it’s good when you need to change plans. What seemed like a bad news first, let me to discover something new and exciting! Don’t miss the chance to taste it!
And yes, I still love Campos Reales, whenever it’s going to be available again.
Dry – Off dry- Medium sweet – Sweet
Light – Medium – Full body
No oak – Aged in oak
Retail price: about $ 8.00
Ideal food pairing:
Roasted peppers and eggplant dip, Vermicelli con melanzana, Vegetable lentils, Shish kebab with eggplant hash and Tzaziki sauce, and many more… mild cheeses, Italian Antipasto, spiced cured meats etc.