I know that I’m going to surprise you with my choices of designations of origin for 2012. The news is that I have knocked out two of my favorites: DO Ribera del Duero and DO Toro, to include others, it is quite a step. The reason is that I do not want to be so repetitive and that tasting new wines is always fun.
The first on this podium is the DOCA Rioja, which gives us so much satisfaction when we are outside Spain, as it is the easiest to find and everyone knows or have heard about it. Already within our borders, we find that Rioja is a great region (of which I am a fan) for the beauty of its landscapes, its rich cuisine (also regarding sweets, do not think that stewed potatoes with chorizo Rioja-style are all what they have to offer) and the fantastic wineries, particularly proliferating in the Haro area.
I recommend a one day escape visit to the Viña Tondonia facilities (where I went to this summer and left absolutely delighted), to have the chance to experience a truly old winery and tasting that Viña Tondonia Blanco Crianza that has me completely under its spelt.
I will also have to suggest that once out of the cellar when the visit and the wine taste is over you can wander through the streets of the town and you can as well take the car and go visit to Santo Domingo de la Calzada (15 minute drive) to enjoy the full flavour of the Rioja in a legend and pilgrim tradition place.
Ribera del Guadiana and VT Extremadura would be in second position on the podium because between Salitre 2009 and Habla num. 10 I am beside myself with joy. This region, from which soil is so difficult to extract a good pair of grapes to make wine, has been giving it all lately and these two wines are the best prove of it. And if despite all the lines that I have dedicated to the Bodega Habla there is still someone who has not yet tasted some of its wines, they can ask for it upon request in their letter to Santa.
Finally, the bronze was going to go to the DOQ, Priorat which deserves it for their latest releases and for so many years in the spotlight (and in a particularly privileged place my cellar), but I have instead decided to nominate for it to VT Mallorca because of the surprising combinations I always find in its wines and for the unexpectedness of the image in most of its bottles, which bring a breath of fresh air to the table, especially if you choose one of its wines to accompany some of those delicious vegetables cakes they specialize in.