This is a pair of interesting new table wines from the well-known Cava producer Codorníu. Launched as the first two wines in a new ‘brand’, the white is an unusual blend of Chardonnay and Albariño, whilst the red a slightly more familiar liaison between Cabernet Sauvignon and Tempranillo. Both are designated as a ‘Viñedos de España’, with no specific regional appellation given. That might sound alarm bells, suggesting cheap Spanish ‘plonk’, but in fact these are quality, modern wines made from estate-grown grapes by head winemaker, Olivia Salas, who has worked in top wineries in France, Chile and New Zealand as well as in Spain. The brand has already been launched in the USA, where it is apparently selling well. I suspect the US market’s propensity for sweeter wines is a key factor, because both of these wines are rather too sweet for my palate, and it is not the sweetness of ripe fruit, but of residual sugar. I also suspect that the recommended retail price of £7.99 is one that you will rarely see: that promotions and discounting will bring the price down by a pound or two to a level where, frankly, they will sit more comfortably.
The packaging of these wines is brilliant, the provenance is good and the fusion of indigenous grapes with international varieties intriguing. They are well made wines with plenty of fruit and I concede their inherent sweetness will appeal to some drinkers rather more than it did to me. The wines are priced at £7.99 and so far are available in Tesco Vin Plus (Calais), Magnum Wines (Swindon) and Den Boer (Oxfordshire).
Codorníu Spanish Quarter Chardonnay-Albariño 2007
It is quite exuberantly fresh, with creamy, lemony aromas to the fore and just a hint of pineapple. It is packed with flavour on the palate, though I find the residual sugar just too high for my tastes. It has an off-dry edge, and the bold, tropical ripeness of fruit adds to the sweet sensation, but good acidity does add some much-needed clarity on the finish.
Codorníu Spanish Quarter Cabernet Sauvignon and Tempranillo 2007
This crimson coloured wine has a bright nose, with a certain cherry and raisined quality. It has a Beaujolais-like sense of dryness. On the palate there’s that sweetness again: it almost has something of a recioto character, staying quite light-bodied and a touch lean, but the sweetness persists. There is a little building depth of something more chocolaty and spicy. I slightly prefer this to the white, though again the level of residual sugar is a touch high and, for me, clashes with some quite lean and savoury tannin. See all stockists on wine-searcher.com