This is our second of two posts about Cooperativa Vinícola San Valero — a group that began in 1944 with 66 wine-growing partners in Cariñena, Spain, and currently consists of 500 wine-growing partners and 4,000 hectares of vineyards. Co-ops are a relevant concept in Spain. Originally, they were startups for survival, and now they continue to provide ongoing support for small family farms. With a rich history of innovation, the cooperative produces expressive and fun wines at wallet-friendly prices.
In the month of April, we participated in weekly #WineStudio tastings of some of their wines. Part 1 looked at the five wines that we enjoyed at the beginning of the month. This post discusses four more wines that we tasted in the last two weeks of April.
Celebrities by San Valero
Celebrities is a new collection of monovarietals (single varietals) dedicated to the most indigenous and international grape varieties. In the words of wine educator Kat Thomas, “Celebrities debuted in 2019 and is meant to bring the spotlight on those grapes that can walk the walk and shine on their own. You are a star when you taste these wines.”
Firstly, we opened three international varieties: 2018 Merlot, Syrah and Cabernet Sauvignon. (In our previous post, we discussed the indigenous 2019 Garnacha, 2017 Cariñena and 2016 Old Vine Garnacha.) All six of these wines have a wallet-friendly price of $14.99.
Their cheeky, sassy, attention-grabbing labels definitely stand out on crowded store shelves. For example, each person depicted on the label has a grape over his or her head. We simply call them grape-heads!
These three wines won awards at two prestigious international wine competitions. Celebrities Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon won gold at the Berliner Wein Trophy. And all three took home medals at the Mundus Vini International Wine Grand Prix in Germany.
The Celebrities Wine
Of note, all three Celebrities wines share the common thread of herb and graphite flavors.
Celebrities 2018 Merlot is intense, fresh and fun, with juicy fruit aromas and layered flavors of cherry, blackberry, plums, plus some graphite, dried herbs and chocolate. This is more complex than some Merlots, especially at $14.99. Pair it with salmon, tuna, chicken, turkey, beef, pork or lamb. Talk about food-friendly! In addition, the label features a grape-head with a fluffy white cat.
Celebrities 2018 Syrah is full-bodied and dense, with flavors of red and black fruit, and notes of dried herbs, spice, graphite and chocolate. We enjoyed this wine even more on day two. Furthermore, the label features a grape-head walking a Dalmatian, wearing a matching Dalmatian mini-skirt, and reading a newspaper. Stellar! Pair this Syrah with sausage or chorizo, or seafood, grilled meats, chicken or pork.
Celebrities 2018 Cabernet Sauvignon bursts with red fruit aromatics, followed by dense flavors of cherry, black fruit, dried herbs. graphite and cassis. The cooperative says it “contains features of an entire celebrity.” Bring on the BBQ, or pair it with stew, lamb or other meat dishes with strong sauces.
500 Manos – In Honor of His Hands
After Celebrities, we opened this expressive, powerhouse wine, 500 Manos, which pays a heartfelt tribute to the cooperative’s 500 hard-working wine-growing partners over 75 harvests.
The label shows a close-up image of a hand holding the Cariñena soil. As you can see, we tasted bottle #33 out of 98,000 bottles in production.
“It is not just another wine, but represents a point in the path of this winery that, incidentally, is celebrating its 75th anniversary this year. Those 500 winegrowers have a small part inside each bottle,” stated the cooperative.
A lovely symphony of Syrah (40%), Cab Sauvignon (30%) and Merlot (30%), we were not surprised to find out this blend won gold at the Mundus Vini International Wine Grand Prix.
After decanting, 500 Manos was bold, smooth, elegant, complex and structured, with cherry and blackberry aromatics and flavors, along with notes of cassis, pepper, smoke, chocolate and spice. Pair it with a big juicy steak, grilled vegetables or many other foods that complement each of the individual varieties in this blend.
All these Cariñena wines showcase history, complexity and minerality at an approachable $15-$20 price point.
Above all, many thanks to the San Valero Wine Cooperative for the samples. Certainly, these wines are delicious, food-friendly and wallet-friendly too. Most importantly, they will be available in the United States in the near future, and we can’t wait.
Moreover, we also appreciate the dedication and education of sommelier Tina Morey at #WineStudio, and wine educator and sommelier Kat Thomas, at Hakkasan Group Las Vegas.
Margot and Dave