What do you think when you hear the word ‘Spain’? For many, the answer is the sunshine, the architecture, the tapas—and, of course, the wine. Oh the wine! And while Spain produces some excellent dry whites and fantastic sparkling cava, what really stands out is the quality of its reds.
From the oaky Riojas to the full-bodied Ribera del Dueros, the fresh Bierzos and, perhaps best of all, the smooth-as-silk Priorats, the many wine regions of Spain have something for every type of red wine lover.
Here are the top red wine gifts from Spain to ring in this festive season.
As one of the original wineries behind what is known as the “rebirth" of Priorat wine in the late 1980s and early 1990s, Clos de l’Obac’s eponymous wine is as quintessentially Priorat as it gets. Power, structure and complexity define this superb red made from grapes from seven vineyards around the town of Gratallops that are planted with Grenache, Cabernet Sauvignon, Shiraz, Merlot and Carignan. While the more than 50-year-old Carignan and Grenache vines give this wine its unmistakable Priorat character, the other varieties ensure its balance of strength and finess. While you’re here, don’t miss Clos de l’Obac’s Dolç de l’Obac—a decadent red dessert wine that will delight even the most die-hard sweet wine detractors.
Another founding father of the Priorat revival, and arguably one of the most iconic figures in modern-day Spanish winemaking, Álvaro Palacios presides over a boutique wine empire that produces some of the finest vintages from Rioja, Priorat and Bierzo. In the latter, he makes wines with his nephew Ricardo Pérez Palaciosunder the brand name Descendientes de J.Palacios (Descendants of J. Palacios, a homage to Álvaro’s father and Ricardo’s grandfather José who passed away in 2000). Las Lamas is made from organically grown grapes, 92% of which are of the Mencía variety typical of this region. It has a delicate, mineral, almost ethereal quality that is both clean and velvety, with well-rounded tannins and a lasting finish.
Wine lovers familiar with the traditional Riojan style of oaky, tannin-heavy wines will be surprised by the refreshing lightness of Gómez Cruzado’s Pancrudo. While the winery was founded in 1886 in the Haro railyway district, the modern-day Gómez Cruzado is run by a passionate group of young vintners committed to promoting a lighter, fresher, more modern winemaking approach in Rioja. Unlike its Tempranillo-based neighbors, Pancrudo is made from 100% Garnacha (Grenache) and fermented first in stainless steel barrels, then in French oak barrels and finally in a concrete egg. The result is an easy-to drink cherry red wine with aromas of red berries.
Look at the wine regions of Montsant and Priorat on a map and it
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Food is love, and it is also the perfect gift for a host, a gourmand, a home cook, or anyone who appreciates a truly special culinary experience, and a lovely bottle of something special (alcoholic or non-) to pair it with. Look no further. With these 20+ “global entries,” you are certain to find a delicious gift inspired by great cuisines and chefs from around the globe.
From soft knits to plaid PJs, one of these cosy gifts is perfect for the traveler in your life. Our pick of winter-warming accessories are perfect for those traveling to cooler destinations, to use in-transit or in-flight. In fact, these presents will not only keep them warm, but will also keep you close to their hearts.
Skipping the buzz—and the calories – has gotten much more enjoyable. Even in the past six months, the non-alcoholic wine space has improved dramatically, with new offerings showing surprising complexity. My list this year includes a couple of debuts and some old favorites. I’ve noted how these beverages were made – some start with fermented grapes – actual wine—then use complex chemistry to remove the alcohol. These might hew closer to a traditional wine to many palates. Then there are beverages that use a mixture of teas, juices, spices or other elements to give the experience of wine – mouthfeel, complex nose and palate. These alternatives are generally not meant to emulate a particular varietal, but rather give the drinker a pleasing adult beverage to enjoy in situations where you’d normally drink wine. Here are this year’s top picks.
Travelers often overlook Belgium in favor of neighbors like France and the Netherlands, but it’s one of Europe’s best kept secrets. Because of its history, Belgium is linguistically and culturally diverse; it’s also small and compact, so visitors can travel to multiple destinations with ease.
As options for the traditional chalet ski break have dwindled and prices risen, venturing to Europe’s far corners and beyond for a ski break can reap rewards. Costs are often lower, while luxury accommodation can be similarly priced to budget options in mainstream European ski resorts. As well as being potentially cheaper, skiing in territory off the beaten track can offer a rich cultural experience, plus better flight routes, less crowded slopes, sunnier days and a friendlier welcome.
In Britain, the Sunday roast is sacrosanct. Gathering together around a beautifully cooked joint of meat, with lashings of gravy, vegetables and billowing Yorkshire puddings, is, for many, the weekend’s social highlight. And where better to do to this than the pub? Not only do you avoid the washing-up but, centuries after the French dubbed Brits les rosbifs, you get to enjoy the roast at its most modern. In recent decades, Britain’s best pub chefs have, by focusing on seasonal ingredients, rare-breed meats and painstaking preparations of roast potatoes or root vegetables, brought a fresh glamour to this Sunday afternoon ritual.
Of the key Alpine ski destinations, Italy offers the best value for money. Here, an espresso can cost €1.50 (£1.30) a shot, and a piste-side plate of pasta €10-15 (£9-13), items that are often 70-100% dearer in the A-list ski areas of France. And a peak-week, February half-term holiday in a three-star hotel can come in less than €1,745 (£1,500) per person half board, including flights and transfers. And that’s not taking some back-of-beyond resort as a point of comparison, either: all these prices are available in or around Canazei in Val di Fassa, part of the vast Dolomiti Superski area. On its doorstep, more than 300 miles of perfectly groomed pistes spin off the central Sella Ronda circuit; explore the area’s outer limits and that total hits 745 miles.
Whether you’re a dedicated bargain hunter, passionate about interiors, a spa-o-holic, an obsessive foodie, love exploring places brimming with history and atmosphere, or adore contemporary art, then you’ve come to the right place. Few places on Earth do any of these things quite like Marrakesh.
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