Leeds is going through somewhat of a tapas resurgence with numerous establishments newly opened or due to open in the coming months. I thought I’d check out one of these new venues, La Rambla on East Parade, with a view to getting my Spanish wine fix.
Upon entry I have to say I was highly impressed. The owners have obviously put a lot of work in to the interior of the restaurant, and with the lighting and atrium area I actually felt like I could have been in Spain. As soon as I saw the Nora Albarino, 2013 on the menu I knew it was meant to be. I ordered the Calamari and some garlic prawns from the tapas menu knowing they’d pair perfectly with the crisp, acidic white wine. On the nose this particular Albarino is reminiscent of peaches and apple with a hint of freshly cut grass. These flavours all translate through to the palate with a fresh, acidic vibrancy balanced with a hint of sweetness. Made in a classic style too, this is a very good example of Albarino and for the price is great value! It also paired very well with some excellent seafood and is a perfect companion for the summer months.
I can’t really talk about Spanish wine without mentioning Rioja; but I will as I feel there are some very interesting alternatives, specifically from the Ribera Del Duero, and for this example a surprising wine from Catalonia. Back at La Rambla I asked the waiter for his recommendation, to which he quickly replied the 2010 Tempranillo Cabernet Sauvignon from Ramon Roqueta near Barcelona; dark and deep ruby in colour with a surprisingly complex nose of cherry and blackcurrant with cedar and sandalwood. As with most Spanish reds it’s high in alcohol owing to the high temperatures during the growing season, but here it has been balanced well by the blend of grapes the winemaker has used and also an extended period of ageing in oak barrels; smooth and fruity on the palate with lingering notes of the cedar and sandalwood on the finish. It’s also one of the house wines and thus cheaper wines on the menu which gives it even more points in my book. I went for the albondigas and some chorizo to pair with the wine, the latter working incredibly well with the Tempranillo Cabernet Sauvignon blend.
If my experience at La Rambla is anything to go by, 2015 could be a big year for tapas and possibly, dare I say, wine in Leeds.