Anthony Rose: 'The Wines of Spain awards confirmed the extraordinary variety coming out of Spain'
After Nacho Manzano's divine beetroot gazpacho soup at Ibérica in Marylebone, I was excited to see what David Muñoz, the chef of two-Michelin star DiverXO in Madrid, could do. Muñoz was invited as Manzano's guest to cook dinner at the new Ibérica in Canary Wharf.
In the hands of anyone less talented, a dish like oxtail sandwich with eel, jalapenos and finger lime, or potsticker Shanghai of pitu Caleya with sea urchin, chipotle and shiitake, might seem pretentious.
But no, his nine Asian-influenced dishes represented the best of modern Spain's culinary re-interpretation of tradition. In this way, a traditional Asturias potsticker was transformed into a visually imaginative and delicious combination. In tandem with this typically modernising trend, new Spanish cooking is now able to reply on vastly improved wines to accompany the variety of dishes we're seeing in the best new tapas bars.
The recent Wines of Spain awards confirmed the extraordinary variety now coming out of Spain. Imaginative blends like the peaches-and-cream garnacha blanca, viognier and roussane in the 2011 La Báscula, Catalan Eagle from Terra Alta, around £11, Highbury Vintners (020-7226 1347), Noel Young, Cambridge (01223 566744), mingle with international-influenced combinations in the white, Burgundy-like 2011 Raimat Xarel-lo-Chardonnay, £10, Noel Young.
Traditional stonefruity whites such as the 2011 Godello Pazos del Rey, Monterrei, £9.99, M&S, sit happily alongside the citrus-etched fruit in the 2011 Albariño Fillaboa, Rias Baixas, around £14.99, Amps Fine Wines, Oundle (01832 273502), The Ox House, Glos (01451 860650).
We're equally spoilt for reds. Take, for instance, the youthful berry fruit of the 2011 Gran Vega Garnacha from Bodegas Borsão in Campo de Borja, £4.99, virginwines.com, or the spicy mazuelo and shiraz blend supported by chocolatey oak in the 2011 Toronegro from Extremadura, £6.99, The Co-op. Or the rustic 2011 Bodegas Esteban Martin Vinem Garnacha, from Carinena, £7.74, George Hill of Loughborough (01509 212717) and the berry fruit in the 2011 Pazo das Tapias Alma de Tinto, Monterrei, £9.99, Great Western Wine, Bath (01225 322810).
Alvaro Palacios' 2010 the Petalos, Bierzo, Descendientes de J Palacios, around £17.45, Roberson (020-7371 2121), Majestic, is a red combining a black-cherry intensity with oak and liquorice spice. All mulberry fruit underpinned by spicy oak, the Wines of Spain awards winner was the 2009 Vina Pedrosa Crianza, Bodegas Perez Pascuas, Ribera del Duero, £23.85, Loki Wines, Birmingham (0121 212 9440). For the David Muñoz menu and pictures, please see anthonyrosewine.com.
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