We came across the wines of Viña Santa Marina at a tasting showcasing less well-trodden parts of Spain. What initially struck us about these wines was their softness. So soft that your whole face relaxes as your mind wanders into some sort of utopian dreamland. Well, when that happens there's no option but to enquire further - we made contact with the estate and Alvaro himself replied asking for our address to send us some more samples. Off to a good start, then.
Alvaro de Alvear, it transpires, has a fascinating family history. His forbears shipped wine to England in the 18th century, as well as riches from South America. Viña Santa Marina is Alvaro's personal project and is now run by his children and nephews. The 200 ha estate lies at the foot of the Sierra de la Moneda in Extremadura, embellished with 80 hectares of perfectly preserved Mediterranean forest that are left unspoilt to contribute to the rich character of the wine.
Aged in barrel as they are, the fruit in Spanish wines often remains hidden under a blanket of oak. Not here. Ripe, concentrated juice pervades and lingers. Native varietals are masterfully combined with traditionally French varietals to produce interesting, exquisite wines.