Decantalo Wine Blog

Biodynamic wines- What are they? How are they made?

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Up until recently, we have watched as the wine industry experiences a revolution in traditional winemaking methods. A return to basics in many cases, with the ultimate objective of obtaining wines with identity, personality, which are environmentally friendly and less standardised.

Today we want to talk about an increasingly recurrent concept in the sector: Biodynamic viticulture. What is it? What are the processes involved? And most importantly, how is the wine affected?

cuernoCow Horns are used in the preparation process for the wine “preparado 500″.

Biodynamic viticulture is a method of agriculture based on the ideas of the Croatian philosopher Rudolf Steiner, born in the nineteenth century and founder of a school of philosophy called “anthroposophy”.

The main difference between this method and other methods of agriculture is summarised by the fact that biodynamic farmers see the farm as a single organic entity which in turn is made up of several independent organisms. This idea pursues and defends ecosystem recovery and balanced operations, regenerating the bacterial biological activity of soils, strictly without the use of industrial pesticides and fertilisers.

Instead, a series of natural elaborations are used, which may be seen as surprising. A good example is the famous “preparado 500″ which consists of burying a cow horn full of manure during the summer, only to dig it up later and dilute its content with water. The liquid is then used to spray the vineyard, first clockwise and then anticlockwise.

And that is why biodynamic viticulture complies strictly with the requirements of organic viticulture, and has an important credential component, which considers the astral biodynamic calendar, lunar influences and constellations.

Although beyond methods and beliefs, the true question is: Does biodynamic viticulture positively influence the quality of wine?

Many consider these practices as absurd, and many others strongly defend its benefits. What is clear is that this idea of viticulture is built with the utmost respect and care for the vineyard, which almost always translates into good raw materials with which to produce great wines.

Although these practices are becoming more widespread, few wineries possess Demeter certification, the international body that accredits the good practice of biodynamic viticulture. This is often due to the high cost and bureaucracy involved in obtaining this accreditation.

We take this opportunity to recommend three excellent biodynamic wines from wineries with accredited certification. Do not miss them- you will love them:

Celler Can Credo Aloers 2013. A 100% Xarel·lo with overflowing personality which comes from Recaredo Creed Celler. A distinctly varietal wine. Fresh, serious and structured.

Parés Baltà Mas Irene 2012. A good blend of Cabernet Franc and Merlot from the Pares Balta winery. Intense, elegant and juicy. Well structured, with a good balance between fruit and oak.

Recaredo Subtil Gran Reserva Brut Nature 2007. And finally, a major Cava from Recaredo Cava, a Penedes benchmark winery with cellars synonymous with high quality. A subtle, complex and fresh cava.

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Gutiérrez farewells Jerez, Bierzo and Galicia, awarding them 100 precious Parker points.

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Luis Gutierrez, the Spanish delegate for the prestigious magazine The Wine Advocate, led by the guru Robert Parker, said farewell to 2014 with a long awaited number of wine tastings from Bierzo, Galicia, aswell as new editions and Jerez wines.

An awaited series of articles that curiously coincided with the first anniversary of Gutierrez as the Parker strongman in Spain, left us with great news- the admittance of a new Spanish wine to the exclusive 100 Parker points club.


This wine is La Bota de Amontillado 49 “Bota AR”, a very old amontillado from the old wine cellar of Gaspar Florido, rescued from its long slumber by the Navazos Team.

Team Navazos, a project created in 2005 by Jesus Barquin and Eduardo Ojeda, mainly aims to market to the general public a small variety of old Jerez wines from different batches and points in history. In addition, they also produce magnificent finos and manzanillas, and collaborate on other Jerez projects, such as their production of sparkling wine in collaboration with Cavas Colet.

To them we owe the pleasure of enjoying La Bota de Amontillado 49 “Boot AR”, the new owner of 100 Parker points.

A wild wine of high concentration, it presents a disturbingly intense, nuanced nose with a radically saline mouth. An extremely long and spectacular acidity.

The team responsible for a this wine have said that they will never be beaten on such a find, at least at this price!

We sincerely hope that they are mistaken!

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Parker points for Galician wines- January 2015

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The long awaited delivery of the Christmas issue of The Wine Advocate, edited by the renowned Robert Parker, recently completed tastings of Jerez and Bierzo with a special section dedicated to the four denominations of Galician wine.

On this occasion, Parker scores the wines of Galicia, which left bittersweet feelings for some of the largest wineries in the area, whilst the smaller wineries and winemakers, more committed to preserving the identity of the wine region and its terroir, have been rewarded.


The vinyards of Rías Baixas © Ruta do Viño Rias Baixas

Above all, Luis Gutierrez, Parker delegate for Spain, Argentina and Chile gave a warning to wines from Rias Baixas, where he believes there is a strong danger of standardising wines in this region.

Gutiérrez goes as far as to describe the overall business strategy of these wineries as wrong. A strategy, in his own words, in which profit is pursued at the expense of quality, resulting in standardisation and a lack of originality.

Fortunately, he also praises the winemakers of the area who have been brave enough to bring forward projects such as the recovery of old varieties and maximisation of the land. These are wines of great quality and personality.

Among the Top Rated Galician wineries Parker highlights Adegas Guímaro, in Ribeira Sacra: Finca Pombeiras 2012 received 95 Parker points and stands as the highest rated. Also, Guímaro 2013 received 91 Parker points and is confirmed as one of the best value wines.

Among the Galician wineries rated, Parker finds names that we recommend you follow closely. Do not miss the wines from the Forges of Salnes, Adega Algueira, Zárate, Muradella and Adega Quinta de Pombal wineries.You’ll love them!

Click the following link if you want to see the rest of wines from Galicia rated by Parker available on our website.

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Parker Points for Jerez Wines

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The expected Parker ratings  for new wines and vintages from Jerez and Manzanilla de Sanlúcar have arrived, allowing fans of these special wines to have the new scores by the end of 2014. 

There is no doubt that these are extraordinary vintages, not solely due to the hype that surrounds these wine, but because their release took place one year after Luis Gutierrez, the emissary of Robert Parker for Spain, Argentina and Chile, took office, replacing Neal Martin.

soleraA Jerez wine cellar, with its traditional system of “criaderas y soleras”. © DO Jerez –  Manzanilla

It seems that this ‘gap year’ has not changed in any way the quality of Jerez wines, nor those of Gutiérrez, since again, the assessments of these wines are more than excellent.

The average quality of the wines is spectacular, with 75% of the wines achieving over 90 Parker points, but the big news is that one wine has seized a precious 100 Parker points .

This is the La Bota de Amontillado 49 “Bota AR”an amontillado more than 80 years old, marketed by Team Navazos. This wine takes us directly into the past. A piece of history.

It is the Navazos Team wines which have become frontrunners in reviews by Gutierrez. Their project involving the recovery and the marketing of forgotten Jerez wines has been a great success- Parker scores 98 points or more for 4 of their wines.

In addition to La Bota de Amontillado 49 with 100 Parker points , La Bota de Palo Cortado 47 “Bota NO” has come close to perfection with 99 Parker points, whilst La Bota de Palo Cortado 48 “Bota Punta” and La Bota de Palo Cortado 51 “Bota GF ” both received a spectacular 98 Parker points.

A fitting tribute to the work  and ‘archeology’ of Team Navazos, and further evidence of the immense quality of world-class Jerez wines.

Click the following link if you want to see the rest of Jerez wines rated by Parker available on our website.

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Parker points for Bierzo wines- January 2015

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Just as expected, The Wine Advocate welcomed 2015 with the publication of an extensive article on Bierzo wines.

On this occasion, Luis Gutiérrez – the Robert Parker delegate for wines from Spain, Argentina and Chile – placed special focus on wines of the 2012 vintage, which no doubt received the greatest praise throughout history for wines of this region.

bierzoThe countryside of the viñedos del Bierzo, ©CRDO Bierzo

Gutierrez praises the perfect balance between freshness and maturity in the 2012 vintage. Few vintages in the short history of this wine region, created in 1989, can be compared to this year.

The protagonist of this tasting is Ricardo Perez Palacios, responsible for the Descendientes de J. Palacios winery and one of the great contributors towards the wine revolution occurring in Bierzo.

Three wines from this winery have successfully arrived on the podium: Las Lamas 2012, which received 97 Parker points, followed by La Faraona 2012 and Moncerbal 2012, both with 96 Parker points. Excellent scores for these three wines, full of finesse and nuance.

The other big winner as a result of Luis Gutierrez’ tastings is certainly Raúl Pérez, who continues to reap excellent ratings in all of his wines, here we can highlight the 95 Parker points awarded to his Ultreia de Valtuille 2012.

But beyond the knowledge of wines with the highest point score, it is also worth reviewing the paper focusing on more moderately priced wines, and therefore reconfirming the good value of Bierzo wines.

Among the winners in this category, we find ourselves with a wine from Ricardo Palacios, a small winery:Pétalos del Bierzo 2012 received 93 Parker points. A magnificent score for a wine costing as little as €12.80.

Other wines not to be missed: : El Castro de Valtuille Mencía Joven 2013 and Brezo Mencía 2013. Two juicy young mencías awarded 90 Parker points which can be enjoyed for less than 7 €.

Click the following link to see more Bierzo wines rated by Parker available on our website.

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Decantalo’s 10 most popular wines of 2014

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Hurry! It is the last hours of the year! However, before it ends, let us look back and review our  Top 10 best sellers of 2014.

A selection of our most popular wines, sent to more than 25,000 customers across Europe! Among this range, you can enjoy a large variety of wines from all origins and of all shapes and styles- not to be missed!


Finca Villacreces Pruno 2012. For another year, the small Finca Villacreces winery sits high on our list of best selling wines, it also continues to receive awards and critical acclaim. A fleshy, intense, powerful wine which gives much more than it takes.

Palacios Remondo La Montesa 2011. The second place on our list is occupied by another of our most popular wines. La Montesa 2011, from the Palacios Remendo winery is a rioja with a frank profile- lots of fruit, fresh, tasty and easy to drink. It is great value at an unbeatable price.

Solanera 2012. Third overall for 2012. This new Solanera was hugely successful on our website, endorsed by no less than 94 Parker Points, for a wine less than 12 €! A warm, rich blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Garnacha Tintoprera and Monastrell.

Rioja Alta 904 Gran Reserva 2004. Fourth-ranked appears another of our favorite Riojas: La Rioja Alta. A wonderful example of Rioja Gran Reserva. Masterfully combines fruit with the use of wood.

Flor de Vetus 2012. The new 2012 vintage of Flor de Vetus arrived in August and quickly positioned itself as one of our website’s flagship wines, allowing Flor de Vetus 2012  to win 5th place in our best sellers list. A powerful wine, but friendly and very, very sweet. Very interesting!


Yaso 2012. One of our newest wines, only introduced this year, also managed to take 6th place in our 2014 bestseller list. Yaso 2012 is an intense, powerful and concentrated red wine, but also fresh and pleasant. A very good wine for an excellent price, awarded an incredible 93 Parker points.

Aalto 2012. Another wine that is usually found in this list, year after year! A formidable wine from the Ribera del Duero. It has everything. Power, complexity, structure, freshness, aromatic intensity. We love it!

Laya 2013. And now we travel to the DO Almansa, to pay tribute to the wine which ranks eighth in our bestsellers of 2014: Laya 2013. One of the best value wines we have come accross! A powerful and mature wine profile.

Juan Gil 12 meses 2012. Now we jump to Jumilla to present another regular in our Best sellers list. We speak of nothing less than Juan Gil 12 meses 2012. This 100% Monastrell perfectly defines all that this variety is able to offer. Intense but subtle. Fine and pleasant. Rich in nuances.

Viña Gravonia 2005. And we close our top ten bestsellers with nothing less than the only white wine on the whole list. Viña Gravonia 2005 is surely one of the most gastronomic white wines of our country. A very complex wine , intense and creamy, with great potential.

Dare to celebrate New Year with some of these wonders!

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Christmas Pairings: Pair wine and Christmas desserts

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During the past week we have done well with a series of posts dedicated to pairing wine with the main Christmas recipes.

However all good things must come to an end so we are finishing our menu, but not before paying attention to Christmas desserts. Pay attention because we are going to explain some secrets about the main Christmas desserts in Spain and we are going to give you some advice about how to pair them with wine. Enjoy your meal!

mar_dul_nav A paradise for a person with a sweet tooth © IMEO

At any Spanish table, we always finish the Christmas dinner with a good platter of polvorones, turrones and mantecados

Turrones are made from boiling sugar or honey and adding dry fruits as well as almonds. A batter is created, which an egg white is then added to, and afterwards kneaded into a rectangle shape. It is based on a typical Arab sweet that arrived on the Mediterranean coast in the 11th century.

Today the turrón industry is located in Alicante with two denominations: Jijona and Alicante. The two types have a base of honey and almonds, but also the Jijona turrón is soft and made out of crushed almonds, and the Alicante one is a hard turrón made from whole almonds.

You can encounter all kinds of flavours, chocolate, coffee, rum raisins, cream and nuts…but the truth that never fails is that there is the hard turrón and the soft turrón.

The polvorones are small dry pastries with a base of almonds, flour, pig lard and sugar that has been boiled over a strong heat and it is crumbled before eating. The polvorones are more famous in the south of Spain, in Andalucía, however they are made in other areas of Spain.

The mantecados, meanwhile, are sweet and look like polvorones, however they do not usually contain almonds.

When pairing wine and Christmas desserts, we have thought of three recommendations. You will love them!

El Maestro Sierra Cream. The DO Jerez brand can boast about giving us some of the best sweet wines in the world. On this occasion, we are opting for a Cream, i.e. an Oloroso which has sweet Pedro Ximénez wine added to it and afterwards there is an aging with other soleras for a minimum of 5 years. We love this Maestro Sierra Cream because it gives us just the right amount of sweetness to accompany the dessert without us drowning in it.

Alceño Monastrell Dulce 2010. We travelled to DO Jumilla  to present you with a 100% sweet monastrell from Bodegas Alceño. A sweet Monastrell with a good length and a good point of acidity which takes our fancy as it perfectly accompanies these types of desserts.

Llopart Néctar Terrenal. We have come from a stream of established opinions in the last few years that have defended the quality of sparkling wines that can only be treated as Brut or Brut Nature. Fortunately, it seems that this trend is starting to be abandoned and consumers and wineries increasingly believe that sparkling wine can be dedicated to accompanying sweet desserts. This Llopart Néctar Terrenal is a very good example of this. A cava with the spirit of a dessert wine. Fresh and different. Very interesting.

These are our three recommendations to pair with desserts this 2014 Christmas. What wines would you recommend to us?

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Christmas Pairings: Pairing wine and suckling pig

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Only a week until the great Christmas day, and at Decántalo we are continuing to develop our copious menu with the objective of offering the best options for pairing wine with our favourite traditional recipes.

After savouring the taste of a good soup, the best seafood, a delicate sea bream and a traditional Christmas turkey, we hope that you still have an appetite to enjoy one of the most traditional dishes of our gastronomy, that is usually a Christmas classic these days. We are talking about the delicious suckling pig. At Decántalo we have some tricks for the preparation as well as some ideas and suggestions for pairing wine and suckling pig. You will love them!

vino-y-cochinilloSpectacular suckling pig in the Segovia style. ©Bonvehi

The suckling pig is very typical in the centre of Spain, in almost all of the Segovia and Ávila provinces, in Castille and Leon. The idea is to use a small suckling pig (one that only drinks milk) and cook it in the oven in order to get the best contrast between the skin staying crispy and the meat, that will stay tender.

Traditionally it is cooked in a wood-burning oven, that keeps the special flavour of the meat, but also you can prepare it it in an electric oven, more common in houses, and it also achieves a spectacular result.

The best thing about this dish is that the animal is in the limelight, only adding water, salt and some aromatic herbs to its cooking. The suckling pig has to be split in half from head to tail. Prepare it with a mix of rock salt, thyme, oregano and pork fat which covers all of the skin on the outside.

Preheat the oven to 150 ºC and put the suckling pig in a deep oven proof dish, add  a glass of water and laurel leaves but take care that it does not moisten the skin that is facing upwards. For an hour and a half moisten the suckling pig with fat and its own juices.

After this time the suckling pig is almost ready, only need to brown the skin. Turn the oven up to 190ºC and leave for 20 minutes. Cut the suckling pig – the final test of the grand finale is to use a plate instead of a knife – and serve it with your own sauce.

For pairings of wine and suckling pig we have a huge spectrum of possibilities from red wines to whites, fortified wines to sparkling wines; this article presents you with three options for pairing wine and suckling pig. We hope that you find the result useful!

Mauro 2012. One of the basic rules for this pairing is that you would be able to summarise it in the following sentence “If they grow together, eat them together”. So in this context, we would recommend a good Castilian wine. In this case, we have opted for Mauro 2012. A great and powerful wine, profound and robust but marked by a fruity character and good acidity that helps clean the mouth from mouthful to mouthful…

1583 Albariño de Fefiñanes 2013. Although it may seem strange, many wine lovers trust the Albariño variety and its pairing with a suckling pig. The reason is that a suckling pig has not yet formed adipose tissue therefore a good white wine with a good acidity and structure is a great accompaniment. In this case we suggest this great Albariño de Fefiñanes, it is a symbol of DO Rías Baixas with aging in the barrel for 6 months.

Recaredo Brut de Bruts Brut Nature 2005. We close our suggestions for pairing wine and suckling pig with this spectacular cava from Recaredo, one of the great wineries in Penedés. This brut nature shows complexity, depth, elegance and nuances that bring the gastronomic experience to another level. A luxury for the senses.

We hope that these suggestions are adapted to your preferences. Enjoy your meal!


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Christmas pairings: Pair wine and Roast Turkey

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We continue our series of recommendations of pairing wines and Christmas dishes with suggestions for one of the most famous and universally celebrated dishes: stuffed Roast Turkey

Turkey is traditionally eaten in the United States on Thanksgiving, and many other European countries consider it as one of the main dishes of Christmas.  Here at Decántalo we have some tricks for its preparation, as well as some ideas and suggestions to pair wine and turkey. You will love them!

maridaje-vino-pavoDelicious Christmas Turkey. © The Scottish Butcher

In order to prepare our fantastic Christmas turkey, we begin by cleaning the meat. Once it is clean, with the help of a baster, we inject sweet wine at certain points in the turkey so that it will stay juicy, we then season it with salt and pepper inside and out. Afterwards, we proceed by stuffing the turkey.

When preparing the stuffing for the turkey each house and each family has their own secret, but generally, everybody comes together with the same common idea: They turn to sweet flavours to contrast wit the meat flavours. It is common to use raisins, prunes, apricots and apples. Pancetta, cut into small pieces, is also usually incorporated into the stuffing, applying the perfect harmony with the general sweetness.

Once all the stuffing ingredients are mixed together the inside of the turkey is filled, tying it up with kitchen twine so that nothing escapes. After this, it is covered with olive oil and…placed in the oven!

So that our Christmas turkey does not dry out, there is a  “watering” at certain times during cooking. It takes 45 minutes per kilo of meat. Once it has cooked, the legs are separated and the breast is sliced and they are served with the filling,

The juice stays in the tray, add white wine and a little bit of chicken stock in order to get a gravy for the turkey.

As for wine and Christmas turkey pairings, we can count a multitude of excellent and different options. In this post we recommend to you more red wines than white wines:

As for white wines, the premise would be to opt for a wine with good structure and acidity and time in the barrel. White wines do not “intimidate” the poultry and gravy, and they offer a perfect counterpoint to the acidity and freshness of the dish. On the other hand, in the case of red wine, we would recommend that you choose wines that are very fresh, fruity with few tannins that will not mask the taste of the dish but enhance it.

These are three recommendations. You will love them!

Viña Gravonia 2005. Possibly one of the most “gastronomic” white wines that we can encounter. Viña Gravonia 2005 is 100% viura with nothing less than 28 months in the barrel, produced by one of the iconic producers in DOCa Rioja: Bodegas López de Heredia. A very special white wine. Body and richness, a red, but with the freshness of a white wine. Surprising. Delicious. 

A mi manera 2014. A bomb of fruit, youthfulness, agility and freshness. Ideal for this type of dish, 100% Tempranillo made by carbonic maceration, it is the most direct wine by Benjamín Romeo, alma mater of Bodegas Contador.

Acusp 2012. One of the varieties that, through subtleness and freshness, is the best pairing with Christmas turkey,  is without doubt is Pinot Noir. On this very special occasion, we suggest the Acusp 2012, a tremendous single variety from the winery Castell d’Encús, made by oneologist Raül Bobet in the Lleida Pyrenees.   A wine that does not leave you indifferent, and proves that it is possible to make great Spanish wines with Pinot Noir as a protagonist.

Enjoy these three suggestion in good company!

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Christmas Pairings: Pair wine and oven baked Sea bream

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Whilst we have written some articles in our special series about recommendations for Christmas pairings, we are progressing a little bit with our menu. So, after talking about pairing wines with soup and pairing wines with sea food, it is the turn of one of the great protagonists of the Christmas dishes in Spain: Exquisite oven baked sea bream.

At Decántalo we can offer some tricks for its preparation, here are some ideas and suggestions to pair wine and sea bream. Take note!


 A delicious portion of Sea Bream © Asador San Martin

As for the preparation of this excellent sea bream, there are no secrets: it is all based on the quality and freshness of the product. The better the raw material, the better the final result. We begin by cutting the potatoes in slices which we place at the bottom of an oven dish with salt and a good splash of extra virgin olive oil.

On top of this delicious bed, we place the seasoned sea bream, scales are clean and the insides have been taken out. We make small fillet cuts, and we add a slice of lemon that will give it a special taste during the oven baking at 170-180º; this is prolonged for approximately an hour. It is important that the fish is golden on the outside, but juicy on the inside.

After the first half hour of cooking, a glass of water is added to the potatoes, this helps keep the food moist in the oven so it does not dry out. Once it is finished, the portions are shared and served accompanied by potatoes.

Due to the delicacy and fineness of the sea bream, our pairing suggestions focus on white and fresh wines with personality, subtle notes from the barrel and all the smoothness with a good job from the lees.

In order to make our three recommendations, we have chosen an excellent cava made entirely from Chardonnay grapes, a variety with body, freshness and structure that we think will go well with this dish,

Take note of our reccommendations. You will love them!

Nisia 2013. An impressive verdejo, grown on extremely old vines (Many of them are pre-phylloxera!) at an altitude of 100 metres. Magnificent expression of this variety. A wine from Rueda produced by Bodegas Jorge Ordóñez which is uncommon but an incredible price. Only 9,70€!

Aloers 2013. Can Creda is the name for this interesting project by Cavas Recaredo  in Penedés that tries to explore and delve into the properties and virtues of the Xarel·lo variety through the ecological and bio-dynamic wine making. This Aloers 2013 is overflowing with freshness and character without renouncing the light and subtle creaminess supported by two months of aging in the barrel with battonage peroids.

Juvé & Camps Millesimé Brut Reserva 2010. We close this trio of strong wines with a sparkling wine from Juvé & Camps. This Millesimé Brut Reserva 2010 is entirely produced with Chardonnay grapes from vineyards that the winery owns in Espiells. Complex and intense. Unctuous, fresh and very, very long. A delight.

These are our three recommendations. And what wine can you recommend for us?

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