The Beginning of April…in Spanish Wine

A Junior year abroad turned into a love affair with a Spaniard then changed course and morphed into a love of Spanish wines. And all these years later, we’re standing in my kitchen sipping the first of April Cullom’s own wine label, the 2013 Casa Abril Coupage. It starts with aromas of violets and grasses, hits the palate with restrained dark fruit and departs leaving an impression of nice acidity and tannins worked in to a lengthy finish. Made with 40% Tempranillo, 40% Syrah and 20% Cabernet Sauvignon, this wine’s grapes come from vineyards near Madrid owned by April’s friends. The wine’s official designation is Vino de la Tierra de Castilla, with respectably old vines grown at around 2500 feet with no pesticides in the vineyards, and tt harvest time, it’s so hot here during the day the grapes must be picked at night.
Our second wine is made with old vine tempranillo from Ribera del Duero: the 2011 Alma de Vino. Again, winemaker Cesar Munoz is a friend of April’s. Unfiltered and unfined, the wine has a distinctly red fruit and earthy aroma, a concentration of fruit on the palate along with minerality, acidity and good, integrated tannins in the long finish.
Just to see what works, we bring out the ham and a mild cheese — Monterey Jack because we don’t have any young Manchego in the house. It all works nicely, but we are surprised to discover that the best thing about this snack is the wine’s pairing with Iggy’s Francese bread, which is made with a touch of sourdough.
Some hours after April leaves to get ready for a store tasting at Social Wine in Boston, I uncover the glasses and taste them again. Both wines have blossomed into their own individual versions of big red fruit flavors with excellent acidity and mild tannins. It’s the ending that people remember…