Lunya and baby sister Lunyalita (launching in July) toast #NationalWineDay

Lunya Liverpool  GM & Group Wine Advisor, Ian Jackson, waxes lyrical

For Ian Jackson, GM at Lunya, even though today is #NationalWineDay it feels like it every day.

“I do love wine, talking it about with customers, suppliers and the team, and of course, the all-important sampling. I love to get my enthusiasm across and to take the snobbery away from wine and turn it to pure enjoyment”

Four of Ian’s current favourites which will appear on baby sister Lunyalita’s menu (launching in July) include the Vi Ranci, Txakoli, Nordesia Vermouth and Vina Ceradilla.   He added: “They’re all either new or relatively unknown in the UK and form part of the massive renaissance Spanish wine has undergone. There’s a young generation of winemakers revolutionising the industry and taking the wines onto a global stage.  Lunyalita will encompass all that is great about Spanish wine in 2018, from the classic, traditional styles to the latest modern varieties.

Referring to his current favourites, Ian describes the Vi Ranci as Catalunyan and unique to the region. “The name translates as Rancid Wine (very Catalan) and it can be made with either red or white grapes which are made into wine and then stored in partially filled barrels leaving the wine exposed to the air.  This means that the wine oxidises in a fashion similar to an Oloroso sherry.  The wines are generally aged for 10 years or more and develop a rich nutty, spicy character.”

Ian’s Txakoli choice, Rezebal,  is produced in the Basque country in Northern Spain.  It is a very light, crisp dry white wine that has a slight effervescence on the tongue.  “More than 90% of the Txakoli produced is consumed in the Basque country and it is only exported in tiny quantities.  Traditionally served in tumblers, it is generally poured from a height of 30-40 cm to allow the wines natural sparkling character to show it has a fresh, crisp green apple acidity and is a fabulous aperitif!”

Vermouth is a style of fortified wine that is macerated with various herbs and spices.  Dating back to the 17th century when it was originally sold as a digestive tonic, it is made by fortifying wine with grape alcohol and then adding various herbs to add flavour and character.  Traditionally wormwood is used which adds a bitter, almost astringent note, so typical of Vermouth but generally a blend of herbs will be used to give balance and depth to the drink.  “Nordesia is produced in Galicia by the makers of the stunning Nordes Gin and uses Albarino wines which give a fabulous rich and aromatic quality to the vermouth,” explains Ian.

Viňa Ceradilla is equally stunning and from a single vineyard Rioja produced by the family run Bodegas Vallemayor in the village of Fuenmayor in Rioja Alta.  This wine is only produced in exceptional vintages from a very small plot of 60 – 70-year-old vines which are a mixture of Tempranillo, Graciano, Mazuelo and Viura.  The plot is hand-picked and the grapes are pressed and vinified before being aged for 20 months in new French oak barrels.  The age of the vines imparts a fabulous depth and length of flavour and the ageing in French oak means it has the potential for long ageing too.  With complex flavours of black cherry, spice, tobacco and vanilla, this is a true powerhouse of a Rioja.”

Spain has a very long history and tradition of wine making, dating back to the Phoenicians, who introduced the practice to the Iberian Peninsula over 2500 years ago. The Romans encouraged and developed the techniques and recognised the quality of Spanish wine.

“There are records in Rome dating back to the 1st century AD which say that the most popular wine in Rome at that point was made in Priorat in Catalunya.

“All this goes a long way to explaining why we stock and sell so much wine.  For me, it’s the dream job. I get to drink it, sell it, and am constantly seeking out new wines to try.  It’s a hard job, but someone has got to do it!”

Lunyalita is opening in the historic Albert Dock in Liverpool in July 2018. The third site from Peter & Elaine Kinsella, Lunyalita is a little smaller but still perfectly formed version of Lunya – as the Kinsellas like to call it ‘Lunya’s irreverent baby sister’.