Tapeña and Tapas


It takes a coordinated effort to introduce a new wine into such a large, diverse market as Chicago.  On July 21, I was treated to dinner at Landmark Grill, while public relations associate (and proud Class of 2010 graduate of George Washington University), Simone Perez, explained her role as brand ambassador for Tapeña, a new collection of wines produced from the Tierra de Castilla region of Spain.

Tapeña is a new brand made by the Ferrer family, who is also responsible for the famous sparkling wine Freixenet. There are four different varieties produced:  a Garnacha, a Tempranillo, a Verdejo and a Rose.  Tapeña’s wines have much more upfront fruit compared to, for example, the wines of Rioja, where more leather and woody elements can be detected.

They are produced in a region not regulated by Spain’s strict Denominacion de Origen (DO) system.  Most European countries have some kind of official recognition deemed for its most prestigious wines.  Typically, winemakers seeking such a designation must agree to strict rules about what grapes to produce, how much they can yield per acre and how long the unfinished wine must age.  The aging requirements are particularly strict in Spain, where for example, Gran Riserva wines don’t come to market until at least five years of aging.

The Garnacha Simone and myself shared featured a soft cherry and blueberry flavors, and what I detected was a little touch of ginger spice.  Acidity was on the medium to high side, but that proved to work well with our pizza.  The finish actually seemed to improve on the wine as we worked our way down the bottle.

Simone discussed in the video below her six city tour promoting Tapeña, which made two stops in Chicago, at the Landmark Grill and at Mercadito.  While at Mercadito, I enjoyed their Tempranillo (alas, I prefer my Temps with much more body than this one) and the Verdejo, which featured a zesty lime and grapefruit combination of flavors).

I enjoy attending events like this, both to taste the wines promoted and to see how effectively they are presented.  Brochures about Tapeña and little cards describing each of their bottlings were available.  The tapas passed around accompanied the wines well (spice meets spice!) Simone thoroughly worked the room, answering questions from the attendees and posing for photographs. 

Please click on the screen to hear Simone describe her project with Tapeña and email me if you have tried them yourself.  Remember to include what food you paired with them!

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