Fattorini: Spanish fine wine is becoming ‘mainstream’

The demand for blue chip Spanish wine is beginning to expand beyond private collectors and the Spanish-focused on-trade, according to The Wine Show‘s Joe Fattorini.

Head of London Sales at Fields Morris & Verdin, Fattorini said that there had been a “cultural shift” as a result of the widespread popularity of Spanish gastronomy, with the nation’s fine wines moving into the non-Spanish restaurant sector.

“Traditionally, Spanish blue chips were the exclusive domaine of enthusiasts and Spanish restaurants,” said Fattorini.

“However, I’m delighted to say that the demand for high-end Spanish labels has made a leap into the ‘mainstream’. Last year, David Vareille – sommelier at The Arts Club – offered Vega Sicilia’s Valbuena by the glass for three months. This is a tremendous achievement, particularly as The Arts Club has traditionally stayed clear of Spanish fine wine,” he added.

According to Fattorini, Quo Vadis has also expanded its list of Spanish fine wine in recent times, in addition to the Connaught and Dorchester hotels.

Nevertheless, oenophiles with a taste for expensive Spanish wine will find the biggest rewards in Basque restaurant Lurra in Marylebone – a top spot for the wines of Alvaro Palacios and Vega Sicilia.

“I know Cambio de Tercio have always taken some top wines – there is excitement in places like Hispania and Sabor, which are expanding their selection of high-end Spanish wine,” said Fattorini.

However, Jeroboam’s wine director Peter Mitchell MW has claimed that despite the furore over trailblazing wineries producing expensive wines, the traditional – and affordable – sphere still commands an intense loyalty from consumers.

“We have stocked various expensive ‘modern’ styles of Rioja, often labelled outside of the traditional ageing classifications and they have not sold well,” said Mitchell.

“The wines of Artadi for example are wonderful, if expensive, and garner high scores, but demand remains negligible. Rioja buyers like the traditional styles and tend to ask for it,” he added.

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