Monday, April 6, 2020

Monopole: Rioja Blanca Wine

Spanish wine is a thing unto itself, but I suppose one could say that about French wine, German wine, Portuguese wine, Israeli wine, and on and on.  But it seems especially true for Spanish wine.  It was the wine of Spain that originally got me interested in vino - in fact, Viura was one of the grapes that initially caught my attention.

The 2019 Monopole is produced by the big Spanish wine company CVNE, which stands for Compañia Vinicola del Norte de España.  The outfit was founded in 1879 in the Rioja town of Haro by two brothers and is still run by their descendants.  The Monopole name harkens back to a wine they used to make some 40 years ago, one that featured Manzanilla sherry blended with the white Viura grapes and aged in oak casks. 

This wine is not so complex - made fully from Viura grapes, in stainless steel tanks.  The grapes were harvested from mid-September through mid-October, on the heels of a terrible drought.  The region got ample rain over the winter and spring of this vintage.  The packaging is a little unusual for the Rioja region - a tall, slender Rhine-style bottle is used.  Alcohol tips 13% abv and it sells for under $15.

The nose is full of citrus - lemon, lime and bit of orange, a splash of grapefruit - with some excellent minerality and salinity on the other side of the scales.  The palate follows suit, with an acidity level that is nice, but not quite as racy as I expected.  Minerals linger on a finish that serves as a lovely reminder of a beautiful sip of white wine.

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