More and more tastings I've been to recentley have tended to feature a lot of Spanish Whites. Although generally a big fan of Rioja I must admit i'm being slowly seduced by these Fresh, crisp and refreshing Spanish beauties Verdejo, Albarino, Viura and even Fino, Manzanilla Sherry, which I'm drinking more of now thanks to dmcker encouraging me.
With the weather picking up here in the UK i find myself more often chilling a bottle of Manzanilla and breaking out the Tapas.
I tasted a lovely Verdejo the other day Finca la Colina DO Rueda 2006.Aromatic, herbacious. clean and bright, which again has made me want more.
What with our tour of Northern Spain (Rioja Region) not far away, It's Viva Espana all the way !
Any good reco's always appreciated.
- Reply by gregt, Apr 3, 2012.
Spike - plenty of good whites. The Albarinos are pretty popular but if you look around, you'll note some regional differences. Those towards the Atlantic tend to be a bit leaner and those inland a bit creamier and some people are putting them in oak for a few months, which rounds them off a bit. Both are good, albeit different.
Ditto with Godello, which comes from a nearby region and was almost extinct until recently. Moving further west you find pretty cool things like Albarin, which they swear isn't related to Albarino and in fact it does taste different, so who knows? Terroir? Getting into the Basque country, you run into Txakolina, pronounced something like chokohlina, which many people love, probably because of the interesting spelling. I bet if it were called Pinot Espana, people would be less enamored of it, but perhaps that's just cynical. As it is, they can be nice, but are usually a few dollars (or euros) more than they should be.
Dropping down a bit south, you get into those Viuras and Malvasias from Rioja and Navarra. Navarra actually has a lot of whites, many more associated with France, like Chardonnay. Some aren't too bad. Rioja has recently relaxed their rules too, so you'll see more of those and Sauvignon Blanc and such coming out of there.
Sliding back to the east, you run into Rueda, where your Verdejo comes from. Interestingly, that used to be made into something more like Sherry but in recent years it's become popular as a straight white wine. Can be quite good. Those too are sometimes put in oak and some people who are ideological, claim that those are no good and you shouldn't put the wine into oak. If you have a less ideological approach to wine you realize that some of those are quite delicious, for a fraction of what you'd pay for say, Chablis. They also do Sauv Blanc in Rueda, most of which I don't care for all that much - good Verdejo tastes much like a good SB should, and the SB tends to be very green for some reason.
I need to get moving so can't write a lot more but some interesting things you should look for, coming from farther south, would be Garnacha Blanca, which can be a delicious crisp wine. There's a bit in Priorat and you pay Priorat prices, but you needn't shop from that region - there good stuff elsewhere. Also something very new that you will likely not find w/out really looking is white Tempranillo - it's a natural mutation of the red grape that was found very recently and there are only a couple of producers working with it. Also, you may look for Xarel-lo, which is one of the 3 cava grapes but on its own is really crisp, lean and similar to something from the Loire in the linear quality it can have. Rarely if ever done in oak, it's a great summer wine. And finally, the ubiquitous Chardonnay is found in Spain too, and is often quite nice. Sometimes made sans oak, it becomes a short-lived, but crisp and dirt cheap white for the summer.
- Reply by Vinpeder, Apr 3, 2012.
Here is a recommandation not to miss.. Antonio Arraez 2011 Valencia Cuvee Eduardo Bermejo.
The new 2011 vintage is stunning, mostly Verdejo and little Moscato. Very intens smell of gooseberry, elderflower, apple and pear. Fruity clean and fresh. Great great wine and the price is ridiculous low, proberly around 5-6 euro in Spain.
They also make a Verdil, a very rare grape, which only is made by 3 wineries in the area, as far as I am told. Its called A2 and the 2011 vintage should also be very good.
And as GregT whote - Albarino is great, is have the honor of having the import of Paco and Lola.. Please check it out and taste .. great wine too.
Cin Cin from Cold Denmark
- Reply by spikedc, Apr 4, 2012.
Cheers Greg, informative as usual. Looking forward to trying some of the ones you mentioned.
I'm probably going to Spain at least twice this year, maybe more. The Rioja region at the end of May and hopefully visiting some family in Valencia in the summer. Wine tasting high on the agenda, I'll report back on what I find.
Vinpeder - thanks, I'll look out for them.