Costa del Crime

I recently went on a trip to Spain to buy some wine. Easy, you might think. Spain makes wine. The wines are very tasty. And, they provide excellent value for money. But there have recently been a couple of less-than-local issues that lessened my chances of finding what I wanted; issues that I had been given to expect, but were nonetheless harrowing to countenance while I was there.

Essentially, I had been told either to expect face-melting price rises or to expect no wine at all. The empty-cellar strategy (nothing more complex than make it – sell it, preferably before the next lot comes in the door) is a very fine aspiration that very few wineries achieve, even in the highest echelons of quality. So it was intuitively muddling to find so many empty warehouses in a country that has always over-produced and stacked ‘em high and sold ‘em cheap.

But this is what I found.

It transpires that the Italians and the French had a pretty dismal time in 2012. Bearing in mind that these are the two powerhouse volumes producers in the world, dwarfing anything in the new world and even Spain, this creates a global supply problem. But being very practical nations, they took it upon themselves to solve the problem in a global manner.

They bought all of the wine in Spain. And sold it as Bordeaux, Chianti, Pinot Grigio, White Burgundy etc, the list goes on.

Which left little old me in a pickle, saved by only one thing: we have a less rapacious, more loving relationship with our suppliers and producers. And this left the door slightly ajar.

In fact, having dug through cellars from Toledo to Valencia, it was clear that there was still treasure with our name on it out there. From the wondrous Bordeaux style cuvees from Dehesa de Carrizal, absolutely top-drawer wines from a winery that has its own DO (by the same name), to the more humble, but no less exceptional wines from the pioneers of Valencia, Angosto, this trip yielded some incredible wines. At yet still incredible prices.

So despite the disruption of corruption, we are still going to bring you the cream of the crop from Spain, courtesy of our friends there.

We’re nice, not like the criminals.

Watch out for part deux, where I’ll list the wines.

And lastly, you ain’t seen me right?

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