Màquina y Tabla Páramos de Nicosia Clarete 2017

Màquina y Tabla Páramos de Nicosia Clarete 2017, Toro, Spain, 13.5%

(from £13.95, Lea & Sandeman)

We’re both big fans of Màquina&Tabla’s characterful, energetic Spanish wines, which dare to be different.

It’s an operation based out of Valladolid and a lot of the fruit comes from the nearby Toro region.

If that means you expect big, blockbuster styles then you’ll be (delightfully) surprised. According to their maker Oriol Illa, these are wines aiming to rediscover Spain’s great traditions of home winemaking: skin contact for whites, ageing under flor (like sherry) and not worrying about things like colour and body but just making good, honest wine. (They even have some amphorae on order.)

There’s a bit more to it than that, of course. Illa describes himself variously as a ‘conceptual’ winemaker and ‘oenopath’, which would sound pretentious in anyone else’s mouth than his – being such an enthusiastic, earnest, humble man.

We’ve been enjoying his wonderfully funky, edgy, savoury Laderas de Leonila white lately – a blend of Godello, Doña Blanca and Palomino grapes from Bierzo.

The Páramos de Nicasia Tinta de Toro 2015 is a lovely red from the range. Oriol describes his aim with this wine as, ‘to calm Toro down.’ The result is delicious crunchy, fresh and upbeat. Extremely moreish.

But this ‘clarete’ (or rosé to the rest of us) is another stand-out in the line-up. Although pale in colour, it’s serious, intense stuff – brimful of strawberry fruit and roasted nut character, spicy and invigorating.

It’s no exaggeration to say that this eclectic blend of Garnacha, Malvasia and Tinta de Toro is one of the most exciting rosés I’ve tried all year. Perfect as the last rays of summer stream through the windows and the bounties of autumn weigh down the table.

(Peter, 7/10, Sept 2018)