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Wine Blogging Wednesday:  Spain by Way of Birmingham, AL

It doesn’t get much better than this—a hotel room, a hotel room microwave, a trash can turned ice bucket, Trader Joe’s chicken sausage polenta lasagna, a goat cheese and walnut salad and a bottle of $4.99 wine—all in honor of Wine Blogging Wednesday #35.

Fresh to market with an ‘06, my choice for Wine Blogging Wednesday wine—featuring a “Passionate Spain” theme—is the 2006 Marqués de Cáceres white wine. 

It was a safe choice.

Marques de Cáceres is one of the well-recognized Spanish brands, and one of its most well decorated, as well.  The Rośe, especially, has earned a tremendous amount of positive press and reviews recently.  Had I known beforehand as opposed to after the fact I most certainly would have picked it up and tested my own mettle against a well reviewed Rośe to determine if I truly had been drinking bad Rośe or just simply don’t care for it, as I mentioned in a post yesterday.  Alas, the white it is. And, it comes with good chops at the price point—the ’05 white received an 88 from Wine & Spirits.  Marqués de Cáceres subsequently went on to become a part of the Wine & Spirits Hall of Fame last year on the strength of being named an International Winery of the year an astounding eight times. 

This ’06 is too new to market to garner any reviews, but my guess is the positive reviews will continue.

Hailing from the Rioja region and made from the lesser known Viura grape, planted with significant acreage in Northern Spain, it’s a rounder and less green varietal than Sauvignon Blanc, but sharing some of the same characteristics.  The unoaked ’06 shows a light nose with notes of white peach and lime zest with some earthiness and lemon on the palate, supported by a bracing acidity begging not for the chicken sausage polenta lasagna I ate with it, but a nice hunk of tilapia.  The finish is medium-long and certainly longer and richer than you expect at this price.  It’s a tremendous value—a value at $4.99 and a value if it were $10.99.

The Marqués de Cáceres is a best-seller for good reason, it’s reliable, it’s good and it’s cheap. 

Most interesting to me in this whole tasting is not getting a good value on a Spanish white, or participating in Wine Blogging Wednesday, it’s the fact that this blockbuster import is handled by an importer from Birmingham, Alabama.  Vineyard Brands, the importer, isn’t a small company, either.  Despite a web site that has remain unfettered from the tug of progress for, oh, probably the last eight or nine years, they handle a ton of imports.  Color me surprised, but Birmingham, Alabama, one of the bottom-rung states in wine consumption and a “control” state in regards to distribution wouldn’t be in my top 10 guesses for importer location.  But, just as $4.99 wines can surprise you with quality so too can the location of their American home.


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