Spanish Stallion

José Pastor reveals the other side of Spanish wine

Spain has always been something of an awkward outlier in the wine-world clique, too often living in the shadows of France and Italy.

Visionary importer José Pastor is changing that.

Dedicated to the small, the handcrafted and the regional, he's shedding light on the exhilaratingly new (and yet paradoxically traditional) side of Spanish winemaking that has lately begun to alter that nation's oenological landscape.

As a result, the Valencia native (and current Bay Area resident) has brought stunning examples of Spain's nascent wine revolution to New York.

Take, for instance, the briny and crisp 2010 Benito Santos Igrexario de Saiar Rías Baixas Albariño ($16 for 750 ml) from the Galician coast: One of the most authentic expressions of this indigenous grape on the New York market, it sings of its maritime place of origin–it's a perfect complement to any seafood dish.

A fresh and vibrant bottling that defies all stereotypes attached to Spanish reds, the 2009 Juan Matias Torres Vid Sur La Palma Negramoll ($18 for 750 ml) hails from the remote Canary Islands. In the glass, it brims with cherries and spice, offering a peppery smokiness that suggests a whiff of the cratered, volcanic soil in which the grapes are grown.

The Benito Santos is available at Sussex Wines & Spirits, Vinyl Wine and Heights Chateau Fine Wines and Spirit, the Juan Matias Torres is available at Tinto Fino and The Wine Hut; both wines are available at Chambers Street Wines.