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  • Natalie Shelley

The Hacienda Company at The Marlow Wine Society

July’s wine tasting was a little out of the ordinary for the Marlow Wine Society as we were treated not only to a selection of interesting Spanish wines to try, but some choice delicacies from northern Spain – hams, cheeses, olives, olive oil and balsamic vinegar – all from the fabulous producers The Hacienda Company in Salamanca, Spain.

Presenting to the packed house was Dave Green, 10-years with The Hacienda Company, and before that 13 further years in the wine industry including Majestic Wines. He is just starting a new position heading up the food and wine division with Petersham Cellar an interesting joint venture between the well-known Petersham Nurseries, London and Castello di Fonterutoli in Tuscany with principal focus on its wine club, online wine retailing and organising special wine events.

Dave not only gave us the background to the gastronomy and wine we tried, but also shared with us some remarkable facts from his extensive knowledge about the Spanish wine making industry as a whole.

The wines (bar the last) and foods chosen to complement them were all sourced from the Haciendas Company, which trades as Viandas with two shops in London as well as retailing online at The delicious offering included lomo – a pure pork loin; a premium Pata Negra Iberian ham made from acorn-fed pigs and undergoing a slow curing process; 3 types of goats’ and sheep’s cheeses; olives; an olive oil of which only 1,000 bottles are produced each year; a syrupy, smooth 12-year old balsamic vinegar; spicy chorizo pate and a fabulous chorizo pork sausage.

The general consensus after the tasting was that Spanish wines were good value for money particularly taking into account the excellent quality.

The eight wines of the evening were as follows:

1. Wine: Codorniu Seleccion Raventos Cava; Grape(s): Chardonnay, Macabeo, Xarel-Lo; Geography: D.O. Cava; Producer: Codorniu; Year: NV; ABV: 11.5 %; Price: £12.00

A modern example of ‘Spanish champagne’ cava from the Catalan region of Spain. The Codorniu family have been pioneers in the region since first producing cava in 1872 and in 1985 incorporated Chardonnay into the blend of traditional grape varieties in order to make a more aromatic style. Pale lemon golden coloured with many streams of fine bubbles, citrus on the nose with peach and lemon aromas and a full-bodied, vibrant fruit flavour and crisp mineral acidity. Enjoy with a selection of canapes.

2. Wine: POSTE RESTANTE ORGANIC VERDEJO; Grape(s): 100% Verdejo; Geography: D.O. Rueda; Producer: United Wineries; Year: 2018; ABV: 12%; Price: £10.00.

Organically farmed and aged on the lees for just a few weeks, this delightful white is crisp, dry and refreshing, tasting of vibrant fruits packed with citrus, pear and intense herbal flavours.

3. Wine: MARQUES DE LA CONCORIDA WHITE TEMPRANILLO; Grape(s): 100% White Tempranillo; Geography: D.O.Ca Rioja; Producer: United Wineries; Year: 2016; ABV: 12.5%; Price: £10.00.

This unoaked Temperanillo Rioja is from one of the most famous vineries in Spain and gives intense, wet grass, petrol aromas on the nose almost similar to Riesling but gives way to a crisp, dry taste with hints of grapefruit. Ideal with fish dishes.

4. Wine: RIOJA SANTIAGO ROSADO; Grape(s): 50% Tempranillo / 50% Garnacha; Geography: D.O.Ca Rioja; Producer: United Wineries; Year: 2016; ABV: 12.5%; Price: £9.00.

A cherry pink colour rose from Navarra, where the monks used to fill up on their wine en-route to Santiago to Campanillo on their pilgrimages. The red grapes spend a short time in contact with the skins to extract some of the colour. Careful maceration ensures freshness of the aromas of red fruit in particular strawberries. On the palate this wine is light, dry, fruity and refreshing. Well balanced with a touch of acidity creating a lingering finish. Perfect with fish, seafood, white meats and as an aperitif.

5. Wine: REY NOBLE GRACIANO; Grape(s): 100% Graciano; Geography: D.O. Navarra; Producer: United Wineries; Year: 2016; ABV: 13.5 %; Price: £12.00.

A complex nose of chocolate, mint and cherries created by the grapes’ year in oak – 6 months in each American and French. Vanilla and cherries on the palate, pair this red with Iberico chorizo and other meats.

6. Wine: PATERNINA RIOJA RESERVA; Grape(s): 80% Tempranillo; 20% Garnacha; Geography: D.O.Ca Rioja; Producer: United Wineries; Year: 2009; ABV: 13.5 %; Price: 13.00.

Founded in 1896, Don Federico Paternina established his winery on a site featuring cellars dug in 16th century Ollauri, Rioja Alta. A reserve with deep fruit character, great elegance and complexity, it is aged in American oak for 24 months. On the nose the aged bouquet is earthy and full in the mouth with a rich long palate and flavours of toasted nuts, dried fruit and spices.

7. Wine: LAGUNILLA OPTIMUS; Grape(s): 80% Tempranillo; 5% Merlot; 5% Syrah; 5% Cabernet Sauvignon; Geography: D.O.Ca Rioja; Producer: United Wineries; Year: 2008; ABV: 14.5%; Price: £39.00.

An experimental blend of grapes, this red Rioja is structured, elegant and intense. Produced by Lagunilla, one of the oldest and finest names in Rioja, it was Don Filipe Lagunilla San Martin that founded this bodega in 1855 and was the first to recommend the introduction of American rootstocks to the Rioja vineyards to combat Phylloxera which hit the region in the 1870’s. Lagunilla is at the forefront of modern wine-making technology whilst at the same time being mindful to tradition and history that has made Rioja one of the classic wine regions of the world. The must is fermented at a maximum of 28oC and then transferred to oak casks to slowly mature for 12 months followed by a further 12 months ageing in the bottle prior to release. Fruit, smoke, hedgerows on the nose with smoke and dark fruits on the palate.

8. Wine: LUSTAU OLOROSO; Grape(s): 100% Palomino; Geography: D.O. Jerez; Producer: Lustau; Year: NV; ABV: 19%; Price: £19.00; Source: Direct from Spain. Online retailer in UK - Corks Out

Aged following an oxidative ageing for 12 years in Bodega La Campana in Jerez de la Frontera. Dark bronze colour with a golden rim. Pungent, nutty aromas with a smoky wood background. Rich flavours of bitter chocolate, walnuts and baked chestnuts. This Oloroso wine has an intense, concentrated aftertaste lightened by a tangy acidity. Good with cured sheep’s milk cheese.


Meat: Jamon Iberica de Bellota; Chorizo Reserva Bellota, Lomo Reserva Bellota

Cheese: Cured Sheep’s Milk cheese – 12 months cured; Cured Goats’ Milk cheese in thyme

Tapas: Olives for Murcia; Oleo du Padua Extra Virgin Olive Oil; Farinato Pate; Balsama de Padua; Fresh artisan bread and crackers

Favourite wines of the evening Wine No. 2 was voted best white and wine No. 7 the favourite red.

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