Vail Valley Wine: Exciting news wines from traditional wine country |

Vail Valley Wine: Exciting news wines from traditional wine country

Sean Razee
Vail, CO Colorado
Atalayas de Golban Ribera del Duero (Tempranillo)

VAIL, Colorado “-The drive of dynamic winemakers and use of local grape varieties continue to keep Spain on top of the list of most exciting European wine-producing countries. Previously, Spanish wines seen in the United States were often Tempranillo-based, made with long barrel aging, often in American oak, creating thin wines with dried-out fruits and dill pickle aromas ” not a great combination in my book.

A new generation of Spanish producers seek to distinguish themselves using small batch presses and fermentations, creating wines usually made to drink younger with dark purple color, powerful fruit, complexity and length. These wines generally don’t carry the traditional aging terms crianza, reserva or gran reserva, but they are often the flagship wines of the Bodegas. Tempranillo-based examples would include the power-house wines Dominio de Pingus “Pingus” and Roda “Corsion,” both of which could be described as explosive, huge, dense and rich.

Although Tempranillo has earned its place in the pantheon of world-class wine grapes, Spain’s recent trend toward the use of local varietals has fueled great interest from savvy wine buyers and consumers looking for value-oriented wines from lesser known regions. Monastrell, with its ripe fruit and soft tannins, is one of Spain’s most vibrant, “new” red varieties. For white grapes, the heirloom Godello from Galicia in northwest Spain can offer a nice substitute for white wine drinkers seeking something with similar weight and body of Chardonnay but with a cleaner, fresher finish.

Sean Razee is the beverage director and sommelier for Spago at The Ritz-Carlton, Bachelor Gulch on Beaver Creek Mountain. He currently holds the Master Sommelier diploma from the Court of Master Sommeliers. Razee is one of 96 Master Sommeliers in the United States and the only person in the Vail Valley that holds the distinguished certification.

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