Classic Wines from Spain and Portugal
NV Freixenet Cordon Negro ($12)
Freixenet produces millions of cases each year of this ubiquitous, black-bottled sparkling wine. It may not be as complex as Champagne, but it’s a deservedly classic sparkling wine, inarguably tasty (and consistent), with fresh lemon-lime flavors that finish on a lightly sweet note.
2008 Martin Codax Albariño ($15)
Martin Codax is actually a co-op of over 550 grape growers (it’s named after a 13th-century Galician troubadour). Its basic Albariño has long been an ideal introduction to this zesty grape, with grapefruit-peel and pineapple notes and a refreshingly brisk finish.
2001 Marqués de Murrieta Castillo Ygay Gran Reserva Especial ($54)
Murrieta, one of the greatest producers in Rioja, sources its classically styled gran reserva solely from its vast 741-acre Ygay estate, located at the southern tip of Rioja Alta. In 2001—the current release—the wine is full of ripe cherry fruit, with notes of licorice and dry leaves.