So you've never heard of Somontano? Don't worry, you're not alone - I lived in Spain for two years and knew nada about this wine region in the country's north east, south of the Pyrenees, on the natural border with France. Somontano may not have the name recognition of Rioja but the word is getting out about the quality, diversity, and affordability of their wines produced from indigenous and international grape varieties. Somontano D.O. (Denomination of Origin) was established about 30 years ago but wine has been produced in the region for centuries and the region sells 14 million bottles a year.
I recently had the chance to take my palate on a wine adventure to Somontano over a fantastic selection of tapas at Amada restaurant in New York City. From jamón to croquetas, the wines were incredibly food-friendly. Here are four of my favorite vinos from the evening -- they are a great introduction to the Somontano style.
Pirineos Alquézar Rosado 2015 ($13)
This fizzy and fresh rosé is a fruit-forward blend of Tempranillo & Cabernet Sauvignon. An eye-catching shade of deep pink, it has juicy cherry, strawberry, and raspberry flavors. A perfect springtime sip!
Viñas del Vero La Miranda de Secastilla 2015 ($15)
This elegant expression of Garnacha Blanca (white Garnacha) has gorgeous texture and lively flavors of white peach, pear, and a subtle hint of hazelnut.
Enate Chardonnay 234 2016 ($20)
This award-winning wine shows how beautifully unoaked Chardonnay can express terroir. Full and vibrant, it has great acidity and lively flavors of green apple, peach, and passion fruit that are balanced by a hint of mountain herbs and minerality.
Sommos Premium 2009 ($40)
This single-vineyard blend of Tempranillo, Merlot, and Syrah beautifully displays Somontano's capacity to produce bold wines that balance power and finesse. Robust with deep flavors of ripe red & black fruits that are enhanced by a touch of toast, minerality, and velvety tannins; this vino is superb.
Visit the Somontano website to learn more about the Somontano region and its wonderful wines. Salud!