Spain’s Great Match New York 2021

On November 15th I attended the 27th annual Spain’s Great Match, a food & wine event in which importers and distributors showcased the new vintages in their portfolios to members of the trade and to consumers. Over 300 wines were available to sample.

The event was held at Mercado Little Spain at 10 Hudson Yards. Mercado is essentially the Spanish version of Eataly, a food and wine theme park. It was opened by Chef José Andrés and the Adrian Brothers to showcase “the best of Spanish food, drink and culture”.

Spain is one of the world’s leading producers of wine and some of their top wine regions include Rioja, Ribera del Duero, Rias Baixas, Penedes and Jerez.

There were two sessions, an afternoon session for the trade and an evening session for consumers. I attended the trade session in the afternoon. As usual there were more wines available than I could have sampled in one afternoon, so I decided to focus my attention on one region and type of wine. At this event that focus was on the Reserva and Gran Reserva wines from Rioja. Those wines are primarily made from the Tempranillo grape and the Reserva must be age for three years with at least one year in oak and the Gran Reserva for five years with at least two in oak before release. I would have liked to sample wines from the other regions but perhaps another time.

It was an afternoon of good wine and plenty of tasty tapas (especially the ham).

Some of what I sampled:

2005 Martinez Lacuesta Campeador Gran Reserva (Rioja): Dark brick in color, silky fruit with a nice balance.

2008 Bodegas Frontaura Reserva (Toro): Opaque dark brick, mint and tar on the nose, dusty and tight with firm tannins.

2009 Manzanos Reserva (Rioja): Opaque dark red, black pepper, mint and crushed red fruit on the nose with chewy, dusty and silky fruit with a good grip and some heat at the end.

2010 Felix Martinez Lacuesta Gran Reserva (Rioja): Dark red with a brick rim, bright red fruit with a bitter, chewy finish.

2010 Bodegas Añaras Gran Reserva (Rioja): Opaque dark red with a brick rim, crushed rocks on the nose, tight and silky with earth notes on the fruit followed with crisp acids.

2011 Cerro Añon Gran Reserva (Rioja): Dark brick in color, black leather on the nose with chewy bright red fruit.

2012 Marquis de Caceres Gran Reserva (Rioja): Dark brick, perfume of red flowers, crushed red fruit with tight, bright red fruit on the finish.

2014 Muga Prado Enea Gran Reserva (Rioja): Black in color, slate notes on the nose with chewy dark chocolate fruit and a nice grip at the end.

2015 Lopez E Haro Reserva (Rioja): Medium brick with a spicy nose and silky red fruit.

2015 Bodegas Añaras Reserva (Rioja): Medium brick with crushed rocks on the nose, tight red fruit and nicely balanced.

2015 Vina Pomal Reserva (Rioja): Dark brick, red leather and tar on the nose, chewy, dusty fruit, nice grip with some citrusy acids on the finish.

2015 Vina Lanciano Reserva (Rioja): Dark red with a purple rim, camphor and crushed black fruit on the nose, dusty and tight with slate notes on the firm finish.

2015 Culmen Reserva (Rioja): Black with a purple rim, crushed ripe black fruit and mint on the nose, juicy, chewy and silky minerally fruit ending with a long finish.

2015 Bodegas Ugalde “Ugalde” Reserva (Rioja): Dark red with a brick rim, black pepper and crushed plum on the nose, nice silky fruit with mint notes on the firm finish.

2015 Bodegas LLeiroso Reserva (Ribero del Duero): Dark red, crushed black fruit and slate on the nose, chewy, dark chocolate fruit with bitter almonds on the finish, nice balance.

2016 Baron De Lay Reserva (Rioja): Dark red, tar and crushed black fruit on the nose, bright, silky black fruit, firm finish.

2017 Cerro Añon Reserva (Rioja): Opaque medium brick, tar and mint on the nose, chewy tarry fruit with a nice balance.

2017 Sierra Cantabria Gran Reserva (Rioja): Dark red with floral and tobacco notes on the nose, silky dark fruit with good acidity on the finish.

2017 Torres Gran Coronas Reserva Cabernet Sauvignon (Penedes): Dark red with tar and leather on the nose, juicy red fruit with a mouthwatering tannic finish.

2016 Muga Reserva Rioja


This is my first Spanish red wine of the “lockdown” season and after a string of mediocre red wines, it was nice to finally drink something interesting.

The wine is from Rioja and is a reserva. The aging requirements for a Reserva from this vintage (which have since been modified) dictate three years of aging, two years in bottle and one year in oak before release.  This wine was aged for two years in oak casks before release.

70% Tempranillo, 20% Garnacha, 10% Mazuelo


2016 Muga Reserva Rioja:  Opaque dark red in color, pretty perfume of roast meat, roasted nuts, and raspberry filled dark chocolate, chewy, dusty fruit with silky, crunchy tannins on the finish. Some heat on the back end.