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These wineries are worth a visit

The Marqués de Riscal winery in Spain has been named the best winery to visit in all of Europe (Photograph supplied)

William Reed is a company that has offices worldwide, and it is based in Britain. It specialises in producing information for the global food and drinks industry and now, for the fifth time, it has compiled a list of the wineries that it feels are the best to visit.

This is no easy task with about 65,000 to choose from, but I have recently received their top-rated 50 for this year. To create this, they split the world into 22 regions and have about 32 wine and travel experts in each one.

I am not surprised in the least that Catena heads the list overall as it is difficult to decide which is the most visually beautiful experience, looking at the building from the outside or the inside. Both views are breathtaking — and, of course, the wines are excellent. If the ancient Incas were still with us, I could believe that they built this in Argentina!

If you do stop by you should taste their most popular 2020 Catena Malbec. Year after year this very reasonably priced wine always rates highly. In fact, this vintage scores 92 points with Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate. They write: “The excellent and floral 2020 Catena Malbec shows the typicity of the grape, violets and red berries, and the freshness of the year. It has the textbook aromas and a soft and velvety mouthfeel, with very fine grainy tannins.” $24.90 (Stock #7116).

The white that is usually in our home is the 2020 Catena Tupungato Chardonnay that combines the unique expressions of three high-altitude vineyard sites. The extraordinary combination of these vineyards offers honey and tropical fruit flavours while lending notes of citrus, pears, peaches and white flowers with a strong minerality and a delicate note of vanilla. The mouthfeel is clean, with a fresh, clean acidity. This is another 92-pointer from James Suckling, who writes: “Ripe peach, dried mango, dried jasmine and buttered toast. It’s full-bodied with crisp acidity. Concentrated layers of ripe and dried fruit and a vivid, subtly smoky finish.” $22.25 (Stock #7119).

Second place overall, and the best winery to visit in all of Europe, goes to Marqués de Riscal in Spain, and their winery is the opposite architecturally to Catena, as it exhibits ultramodern design at its stunning headquarters.

Marqués de Riscal has made the Rioja district what it is today. Until the 1850s, the locals had made only light, young wines. Then, in 1858, Riscal introduced the “Bordeaux method” of barrel ageing. From that moment on, the practice became integral to Rioja. Today, Riscal Reserva is one of the most famous wines in Spain. Each grape is selected from vines that are at least 50 years old, as mature vines make the tastiest grapes. So the wine is incredibly rich and concentrated. It’s full of summer berry flavours and notes of liquorice and vanilla spice. Tempranillo, graciano and mazuelo grapes work together to create 2019 Marques de Riscal Reserva with its nose of ripe red fruits and spices along with vanilla and cocoa. It is silky and smooth with a long finish that lingers on the palate. $28.90 (Stock #9360).

The 2017 Marqués de Riscal XR Reserva is fairly new for us. The Wine Enthusiast printed the following: "Deep ruby in the glass, this wine has a nose of blackberry, black cherry, milk chocolate and clove. There is a nice balance of spice and fruit on the palate, with flavours of black currant, pomegranate, clove, liquorice and dark chocolate. Sturdy tannins dissipate into a lengthy finish. 94/100.” $38 (Stock #9356).

It is back to Argentina for tenth place and this winery story: “El Enemigo is the passion project of two Argentinian friends that has earned a cult following, dreamt up during a twilit sojourn along the River Thames in London in 2009. Alejandro Vigil is a soil expert and celebrated winemaker who for years has headed operations at Bodega Catena Zapata, the estate owned by Adrianna Catena’s father, the legendary Nicolás, a party in honour of whom they were both attending that opportune night. El Enemigo — The Enemy — was created to produce ”a wine that would respect history and traditions whilst simultaneously rejecting the status quo”.

If you stop by at this winery, you should taste a bonarda as this red grape, originally from France, has always been mentioned to me as the one that will challenge malbec, and it is in second place as far as planted vineyard space goes. If you would like to try it now, we have 2019 El Enemigo Bonarda that shows a deep violet colour with bluish reflections. The nose is intense and complex with aromas of ripe black fruit, blackberries, raspberries, black cherries and chocolate. $32.50 (Stock #7131).

We have other wineries on this list but for today we will finish with No 12, which takes us to Germany. Riesling is such a lovely summer wine and from this area of some of the most northern vineyards on our planet we have Dr Loosen Dr L 2021 Riesling. The Loosen family has been growing riesling and producing wine in the Mosel Valley for more than 200 years. The present owner, Ernst “Erni” Loosen, assumed ownership in 1988, embarking on a quest to greatly improve the quality and international reputation of the estate, the Mosel region, and riesling in general. Today, Erni is one of the most iconic and influential winemakers in the world.

Canadian critic Natalie Maclean writes: “Dr L 2021 Riesling is a superb value. Fragrant with lemon pudding, ripe apple and peach jam aromas, the wine is off-dry, medium-bodied and mouth-filling with apple, peach, tropical fruit, lemon meringue and spring rain minerality on the palate. So good now with spicy pork ribs from the grill or try it with smoked-salmon Bennies. Riesling food pairings: pork tenderloin, turkey breast, spicy pasta dishes, shrimp tempura.” $20.25 (Stock #8577).

Have a great trip!

This column is a paid-for advertorial for Burrows Lightbourn Ltd written by Michael Robinson. He can be contacted at mrobinson@bll.bm. Burrows Lightbourn has stores in Hamilton (Front Street East, 295-1554) and Paget (Harbour Road, 236-0355). A selection of its wines, beers and spirits is available online at www.wineonline.bm

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Published August 11, 2023 at 7:59 am (Updated August 11, 2023 at 7:02 am)

These wineries are worth a visit

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