Having spent most of his career focusing on wines from Burgundy, France, master sommelier Chris Tanghe has had to delve into a whole new world of Spanish wines for his list at Aragona. The thoughtful list is testament to his palate and exhaustive tastings of the country’s best. Here, his top picks.
VALUE WINE HE’S MOST PROUD OF ON HIS LIST
2011 Bernabeleva Navaherreros Tinto ($45)
Madrid is a really cool up-and-coming region. There are lots of vineyards planted around the city of Madrid, but most of the grapes were historically used to make everyday-drinking wines for people who lived in the city. Now though, there are all of these old vines there, and these rock–star winemakers are recognizing the quality and making some really amazing wines. This wine is absolutely stunning. This winemaker has a pet project with another winemaker from Bodegas Marañones called Comando G. We have those wines on the list, too, but they’re really expensive. The entry level is like $210 on our list and the main cuvée is $325 or something crazy like that. I’ve tasted only the entry level one and it definitely could hang with Château Rayas, for sure. Well, the Bernabeleva is almost as good a wine as the Comando G—for a fraction of the price. It’s just one of those really fun finds. It’s the more elegant side of Garnacha, which can often be kind of over the top. This is more the restrained, beautifully perfumed side.
MOST AMAZING DISCOVERY ON HIS LIST
2010 Descendientes de José Palacios Moncerbal ($175) and Las Lamas ($175)
Descendientes de José Palacios from Spain’s Bierzo region makes an entry-level Mencia called Pétalos which is delicious—to me, it’s a very classic Mencia. But they also make a couple of single-vineyard wines from Corullón, Moncerbal and Las Lamas. They’re are tiny production and it’s just kind of a different side of Mencia that’s super powerful, but at the same time really silky, texturally. They’re really fascinating. They’re more dark-fruit based, not the typical red fruit that you’d expect from Mencia.