Spanish wines shine at Orlando’s Capa

When I read that Wine Enthusiast had named Capa one of the Top 100 wine restaurants in the U.S., I decided it was time to pick up my pal Michelle and head down I-4 to the Four Seasons Resort Orlando. That’s where we got to meet the woman in charge: the restaurant’s general manager and master sommelier, Nga Ly-Henschen (pictured above).

Capa is a Spanish-influenced rooftop steakhouse inspired by the Basque Country, an area of north central Spain and southwestern France. The decor is elegant and dramatic, with a color palette of black, grey and crimson and floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking the Disney property in the distance.

Ly-Henschen, a petite woman with intelligent eyes, guided us to a private room where she had set up five wines for us to try. She explained that she chooses wines for Capa based on prestige, the history of the wine and where it comes from. She likes smaller wineries that are family-run, knowing their lineage and the love and care they show their wines.

Capa does carry a few of the big-name wines like Opus One and Caymus, but she particularly likes to serve elegantly made Spanish wines. One example is the Vega Sicilia Unico 2006, from a winery which distributes based on the peak aging of their wines rather than the calendar year.

The first wine we tasted was a Cava, Spain’s sparkling wine. Raventos i Blanc 2017 tasted like Champagne, with creamy notes and bigger bubbles. Three different grapes go into producing Cava: Xarello, Parellada and Maccabeo. I was intrigued by the taste; in fact, the next time I have a choice between Cava and Prosecco, I’ll definitely go with the much smoother Cava.

The next wine she shared was Amezto Getariako Txakolina, another Spanish white. It tasted like a Pinot Grigio with a luscious fruity finish and a touch of effervescence.

Moving onto the reds, which are my favorites, Nga opened a Marqués de Murrieta Rioja Reserva 2015, which falls between a cabernet and merlot in America. Rustic but yummy, the taste had me continuing to sip as she talked. She also let us taste a white wine from Marqués de Murrieta; it tasted similar to a Chardonnay, with toasty notes and a nutty flavor that would be a great complement to a charcuterie plate.

She poured two more wines for us in a side-by-side blind taste test. Both were exclusive wines aged for a minimum of five and 10 years. Since I love aged tawny port, I immediately responded to the elegance and refined aging in the Unico 2006. It goes for $800 a bottle or $150 a glass.

The Vega Sicilia Valbuena 5, 2014 is aged in an American oak barrel a minimum of five years and two years in the bottle. It is a deep and silky red wine with a blend of 80% Tinto Fino and 20% Merlot & Malbec. Priced at $350 a bottle, it was delicious.

As we were winding down the interview, Nga brought up Laurent-Perrier Winery, Champagne’s most famous house. She shared that Capa carries their Champagne because it is a family-owned winery and is currently run by women. The two daughters of Bernard de Nonancourt; Stephanie Meneux Nonancourt and Alexandra Pereyre de Nonancourt, currently control the winery.

Later at dinner, as a surprise, Nga came by and poured us a glass of the Laurent Perrier Cuvee Rose, the most recognized rose Champagne in the world. It was amazing — and it’s now my new favorite Champagne!