Set in remote northeast Spain, Cariñena is one of the country's oldest regions. It's also home to "fruity, modern, well made wines that offer fantastic value for money" (Harpers).
Here to give you a delicious demonstration is Don Mendo, a beautifully mature Gran Reserva from Bodegas San Valero, one of the region's oldest cellars – described by famed Spanish expert John Radford as "making some of the best value wines in Spain." (The estate was also tapped to provide wines for King Juan Carlos’ visit during the region’s 75th anniversary – talk about the royal seal of approval on quality and value!)
The man behind the wheel is Javier Domecq – maker of our ever-popular El Bombero and La Cantera Reserva. Well, if you loved those releases (or even if you haven’t tasted them yet), just wait until you try this one. A lush blend of Tempranillo, Garnacha and Cabernet Sauvignon, Don Mendo saw 18 months in American oak barrels and a further 60 months in bottle before its release. It’s soft and mellow, with a core of intense red fruit and gentle spice.
Don Mendo is actually a character in a famous Spanish play who overindulged in a Cariñena-grown wine one night. He blamed “the damn Cariñena!” for all his subsequent card game losses. Serve this wine with slow-roasted, garlicky lamb and there’ll be no losers.