The Somm Set by Benchmark Wine Group






Shakera Jones

Welcome to our newest series, The Somm Set. Each month we’ll be sitting down with a guest sommelier and uncovering their guilty pleasures, cellar staples, and everything in between! Follow as they hand-select their favorites from our warehouse, giving you the inside scoop on cellar must-haves!


This month on The Somm Set, we’re excited to feature Shakera Jones. Join us as we explore everything from her passion for wine, favorite wine and food pairing, and her newest endeavors.


Shakera's Favorite Varietal
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This week from Shakera Jones:

My fellow wine lovers, 

I absolutely love the red wines of Spain and Portugal. Spain in particular holds a very special place in my heart. The history of Spain and the critical role wine played in shaping the who, when, where and why of how the country and its wine making styles and traditions have developed over time is absolutely fascinating.  

Tempranillo remains to this day the most planted red grape in Spain. The vast geographic, climatic, and stylistic differences allow you to truly experience all that the Tempranillo grape can be. Spoiler alert... It is much more than most people expect. The strict aging requirements ensure quality across the board. Tasting Tempranillo aged mostly in American oak from Rioja versus the French oak aged expressions from Ribero del Duero is truly a mind blowing experience. These wines have incredible aging ability but can be quite delicious in their youth as well.  

Garnacha is in my opinion one of the most underrated grapes on the planet. From the bold rich red blends of Priorat to the mineral-driven, cool climate expressions from Gredos, Garnacha is versatile and expressive. The unique slate soils of llicorella give the wines a complex earthy profile that is one-of-a-kind. Comparing anything to Burgundy seems futile, but I challenge you to try Garnacha from Gredos and not see some similarities. The wines are light and layered with higher levels of alcohol that go unnoticed. These are considered the "new school" styles of Spanish wine and if this is truly the future, we ought to be very excited. Producers like Comando G and Jimenez-Landi are producing incredible wines in this region.

Of course I had to share a few that are just fun. If you are looking for wines to explore and potentially have as your house red, look no further than Mecia (aka Jaen in Portugal) Extremely food friendly, fruity, earthy, mineral-driven, peppery, vegetal and slightly astringent.. if you love grapes like Tannat or Schiava, Mencia, particularly from Bierzo is worth exploring. Raul Perez is my absolute favorite producer from this region.

Check out all the wines mentioned below!


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