Showing posts with label Spanish wine. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Spanish wine. Show all posts

Monday, September 4, 2023

Chardonnay From Spain At A Bargain Price

I thought I would do a little bargain hunting and spied a Spanish Chardonnay on the bottom shelf. This was a day after Spain defeated England to win the Women's World Cup, so I thought I would celebrate for them with a wine from España.

Spain does not make me think of Chardonnay. Verdejo, yes. Albariño, absolutely. Hondarrabi Zuri, sure, why not? Chardonnay is more in line with France, or California, for me. But I am always up for something new, even if it is something old from an unexpected place.

The Don Simon Chardonnay is produced by the Carrion company, run by Jose Garcia Carrion. The Chardonnay grapes for this wine were grown in Spain's La Mancha region, reported to be the largest vineyard in the world. It is possible that Google lost the meaning of that phrase in translation, I suppose. Anyway, Carrion is reputedly the largest wine producer in Europe. 

The wine - apparently non-vintage - was fermented in stainless steel and separated from the lees. Aging took place in oak, but for only three months. Alcohol rests low for this Chardonnay, at 11.5% abv, and the price was only $5 at my local Whole Foods Market. I'll bet you didn’t think you could get a $5 wine at Whole Foods. I know I didn't. 

This wine has a pretty golden straw color to it. Peach aromas arrive first on the nose, with mineral, apricot and cantaloupe notes following. Sweet oak spice adds another dimension, but it stays in the background. The palate brings some very nice stone fruit, apricot and citrus to the sip. Acidity is fairly fresh and the wine tastes crisp and clean. The finish is long and pleasant. You can pair this wine easily with seafood or salad. It won't make you forget about the Santa Maria Valley or white Burgundy, but for $5, it is a nice bargain. 


Monday, January 30, 2023

You Can Call Me Albariño

The 2021 vintage of the Pazo de Lusco Albariño is labeled as "Crianza Sobre Lias," which I'm told means the wine was aged on its lees, the yeast cells that are spent in the winemaking process. This often imparts a creamier or richer texture to a wine, particularly a white wine.

This wine was made from 100% Albariño grapes - of course - grown in the Rias Baixas region in northwestern Spain - of course. Rias Baixas is the place Albariño calls home. Alcohol sits at a moderate 13% abv and the bottle sells for around $20.

Pazo de Lusco sits in the glass as a lovely, light yellow liquid. The nose shows off the aromas for which the grape is famous - green apples, flowers and minerals. The minerals take center stage on the palate, which is rich and savory. It is the minerals which stand out the most here, making this a great wine for pairing with food. I had mine with a Mexican shrimp dish, but it will fit well with other spicy cuisines, too, like Thai or Cajun.


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Monday, December 12, 2022

The Darker Side Of Sherry

Bodegas Dios Baco is a Spanish sherry house dating back to 1765, with growth milestones in 1848, 1960 and 1983. The winery is owned now by José Páez Morilla, a sherry-loving businessman who purchased the property in 1992.

Baco Imperial Oloroso is a sherry which has aged for 30 years. The wine is made entirely from Palomino grapes. Alcohol hits a fortified 19.5% abv, with the retail price up close to a hundred bucks.

Oloroso is Spanish for "odorous."  Google Translate shows it as "smelly," but I think I prefer "pungent." It just hits me the wrong way to see a wine website showing a bottle with the name underneath it "Smelly."

Baco Imperial is labeled as VORS, Vinum Optimum Rare Signatum - that's Latin for "great and singular wine." You can also see it as Very Old Rare Sherry, if you have a phobia against Latin. Oloroso sherry is a style that is oxidized through many years, so you get a very complex wine as opposed to the lighter Fino style.

This is a darker white sherry - chestnut brown, in fact - and it has a wondrous nose which boasts raisins, molasses and a whiff of caramel up above the rim of the glass. The palate is savory and dry, but can we talk about the acidity? It is fresh and invigorating and lasts on the sip all the way down. I would pair this with butter cookies or something sweeter in a heartbeat. It's pretty good with a ham and cheese sandwich, too. 


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Wednesday, December 7, 2022

Another Bone Dry Sherry

Álvaro Domecq bought this bodega in the late 1990s, adding wine to his horse ranching empire. This Fino La Janda is one of more than a dozen wines in his line of sherries. It is made from 100% Palomino grapes, grown in Jerez, Spain.

The website in one place shows nine years of aging, then references six to seven years in another. The aging is done in American oak casks, in the solera method. Alcohol hits 15% abv and the wine retails for around $10. 

This wine has a golden yellow color and a very expressive nose. There is quite a bit of a yeasty aroma, with bread and citrus notes following. Hints of brown sugar and raisins are also present. The palate is very dry and somewhat bitter, in a good way. The taste is a savory experience, with barely a trace of the citrus fruit that appears on the nose. The acidity is fresh, almost bracing, and allows for a wide range of pairing options. 


Monday, December 5, 2022

Sherry - Dry As A Bone

I have conveyed in this space my feelings about sherry a number of times before. I love sherry. Can't get enough of it. Here is my feeling: Wine is easy. Sherry is difficult. A few of my old articles on sherry will show you how varied the styles are, and how complicated even a cursory explanation of sherry can quickly become.

Lustau makes eight different styles of sherry, from dry to sweet and creamy. They describe their Jarana Fino as "bone dry, light, mineral and yeasty." It is made from 100% Palomino grapes, in Jerez de la Frontera. That is an inland town in Spain's "Sherry Triangle" which they say has a climate that helps produce "a more rounded and fuller style of wine."

This wine was aged under a layer of yeast, called a "flor," for what appears to be about four years. The solera method of aging the wine involves mixing this year's vintage with portions of previous harvests. That makes sherry a non-vintage wine. Alcohol sits at 15% abv and a bottle of Jarana sells for less than $20. For my money, sherry is one of the biggest wine bargains in existence. You always seem to get more aromas and flavors than expected.

This fino sherry has a mineral-driven nose with notes of dried apricots a bit of yeastiness and a bit of nuttiness. The palate is bone dry, loaded with minerality and showing stone fruit and citrus, but in muted fashion. It's the minerals that take center stage. The acidity is decent, but it won't rip out your taste buds. The mouthfeel is full and round, while the finish is long and features a nutty display of - you guessed it - minerals. 


Monday, November 28, 2022

Make Priorat A Priority

Priorat is a small wine region in northeastern Spain, less than two hours south of Barcelona. Monks brought winemaking to the area and did that handiwork for around 700 years. Then, in the mid-1830s, the government began overseeing the situation. However, tragedy struck before the end of the 19th century. Phylloxera wreaked havoc on the vines, ruined the wine industry and caused general economic hardship. The area wouldn't be important for wine again until the 1950s, when Priorat's DO status was established.

The terroir of Priorat is unlike any other, with soil of black slate and small shiny bits of mica known as llicorella. Vines have to grow their roots very deep in the poor soil to reach water and other nutrients. These conditions result in low yields, which makes for a concentrated flavor profile.

Hammeken Cellars has Tosalet under their umbrella. The land features 100-year-old Carignan vines which give up the grapes for this selection. It is 92% Carignan and eight percent Cabernet Sauvignon. The wine was aged for 18 months in new French oak barrels, has alcohol at a lofty 15.5% abv and sells for $89.

The 2013 Tosalet Carignan Vinyes Velles Priorat is an inky wine which smells like black berries and plums, with a delightful lacing of minty herbaceousness. Clove, vanilla, tobacco and an array of spices join in for the olfactory party. The mouthfeel is very full, and the palate is laden with black fruit and earthy minerals. It is a bold sip, but the tannins have begun to soften. They can still tame a ribeye, however. 


Wednesday, November 23, 2022

The Gods Speak Through Spanish Grapes

The Hammeken Cellars winemaking team is on the cutting edge. Of the seven winemakers and quality control folks, four are women. That is more common than it was not too long ago in a male-dominated business, especially in Europe. Progress is a beautiful thing.

Hammeken makes the wine known as Oráculo. Their website describes Oráculo as a storyteller, but one who speaks the words of the gods. This oracle sends the heavenly message of Tempranillo grapevines which are between 80 and 120 years old. The grape is known in the Ribera del Duero region as Tinta del Pais and they were grown in and around Peñaranda del Duero.

The wine was aged for 24 months in new French oak barrels. Alcohol hits 14.5% abv and it retails for about $37. 

This is an extremely dark wine, one which allows no light to pass through it. It is a complex wine, with a nose that delivers a powerful blast of red fruit along with a dense layer of spices, tobacco and a floral perfume. The palate has cherry, cassis, licorice, cinnamon, and earthy notes all vying for attention. The tannins are mellowing, but they are still capable enough to handle your favorite steak right off the grill. The acidity is refreshing and the finish is long and luxurious. 


Monday, November 21, 2022

A Spanish Red Wine For The Holiday Table

Bodegas Beronia is known for its Rioja Alta vineyards.  The winery was formed by several Basque friends who wanted to have just the right wine to go with their culinary get-togethers.  Now that's a bunch of choosy wine drinkers.  The beautiful state of the art revamp on the winery is only a couple of years old.  Winemaker Matías Calleja puts his signature on the label of each bottle, as does importer González Byass.

The 2018 Beronia Crianza is nearly a full-blooded Tempranillo, with just splashes of Garnacha and Mazuelo in the blend. The wine aged for one year in barrels that were made from American oak staves and French oak tops, then for three months in the bottle. Alcohol sits at 13.5% abv and the retail price is around $15.

This wine has a dark red color of medium-dark intensity. The nose has red fruit up front - cherry, plum and raspberry aromas - with an assortment of herbs and spices that seem to go right along with holiday cooking. There is thyme and a hint of sage along with the smell of cinnamon. The palate brings the fruit forward with sweet oak spice and a full, but refreshing, mouthfeel. The tannins are serviceable, but not harsh. Those herbs and spices find their way back on the medium length finish. 


Wednesday, September 7, 2022

Deep Pink From Rioja

Cune is easier to say than CVNE, which is the real acronym of the wine company spelled out as Compañia Vinicola del Norte de España. This Rioja wine outfit has been owned and operated by the same family since 1879. That's when the Real de Asúa brothers got the wine ball rolling. Today, the family has seven wineries in four of Spain's main wine-growing regions - Rioja, Penedés, Ribera del Duero, and Valdeorras.

The 2020 Cune Rosado is all Rioja Tempranillo. The grapes were picked in Rioja Alta, vinified in stainless steel vats and bottled for release. The vintage held plenty of rain and even some hail, but mild temperatures resulted in an earlier-than-usual harvest. Alcohol rests at 14.5% abv and the bottle cost $13 at my local Whole Foods Market.

This Spanish pinkie has a beautiful red color, almost brick red, and a nose which carries red fruit along on an earthy bouquet. That earth is also notable on the palate, where it once again travels in tandem with cherries and strawberries. 


Monday, September 5, 2022

Sangria In A Bottle

People sometimes don't give wine importers enough credit for what they do. The best importers are those with a nose for wine, who can sniff out good stuff through endless trials, then bring the product to us. Great importers like Kermit Lynch and Terry Theise are as important and as recognizable as great producers.  

Mack and Schühle are Miami-based importers who find great wine and pass it along at a fair price. Founded in 1939, the company expanded to the Miami office about a decade ago. They produce wine in Italy and Spain and distribute other wines globally.

Art of Earth is a global vintner which makes wine from organic vineyards the world over. Their line includes bottling from Italy, Spain, France, Germany and Argentina. 

The Art of Earth Bubbly Sangria is more like a frizzante sangria, but who's counting bubbles? The nose of red wine and citrus certainly smells like real sangria, and it tastes like it, too. The Tempranillo and Garnacha grapes from Spain's Castillo-La Mancha region are blended with organic juices to create this summer sipper. Alcohol is super-low, at 7% abv, and it retails for $12.

This fizzy sangria is loads of fun. Tangy and sweet, with lovely citrus notes on the nose, this wine has beautiful red fruit flavors along with the citrus and a lip-smacking acidity. Chill a bottle or two for your next cookout. 


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Wednesday, March 30, 2022

Rioja Wines For The Choosy Among Us

From importer González Byass.

Bodegas Beronia is known for its Rioja Alta vineyards.  The winery was formed by several Basque friends who wanted to have just the right wine to go with their culinary get-togethers.  Now that's a bunch of choosy wine drinkers.  The beautiful state of the art revamp on the winery is only a couple of years old.  Winemaker Matías Calleja puts his signature on the label of each bottle.

The 2017 Beronia Reserva has three grape varieties in it, 95% Tempranillo, 4% Mazuelo and 1% Graciano.  The winery says that the vines are all more than 40 years old.  The wine was aged in oak barrels for eighteen months and in the bottle for another year and a half.  Alcohol sits at 14.5% abv and the retail price is $25.

This is a dark wine,black cherry red but almost opaque.  Black fruit abounds on the nose, joined by notes of anise, mocha, cinnamon and clove.  The palate is jammy, with spices and herbs making themselves clearly known.  A savory aftertaste lingers on the long finish and the tannins are a bit toothy upon opening, so be sure to decant before serving.


The 2013 Beronia Gran Reserva is a blend of 97% Tempranillo and 3% Graciano grapes, from old vines.  The wine was aged for more than two years in French oak barrels and then another similar time frame in the bottle.  Alcohol hits 14.5% abv and the retail price is $30.

The nose offers black fruit - plums, currant, blackberries - and a savory spice and herb rack featuring pepper, anise, cinnamon, clove and sage.  On the palate, there's plenty of dark fruit and more savory touches.  The tannins are firm and the acidity is refreshing, while the finish lasts a good long while.  


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Monday, March 14, 2022

Women In Wine

Ruth Fernandez is the woman winemaker behind the 2020 Dominio de Punctum Petulante White, a pétillant natural, or pét nat, wine introduced last year.  This family winery dates back to 1905, so they are not newcomers to the wine business.  She is the Punctum oenologist, working at the winery in the central part of Spain, southeast of Madrid, the Castillo y Leon region.  She is one of three siblings who lead the winery on a mission to provide organic, biodynamic wines.  They farm their grapes free of any chemicals, pesticides, herbicides or synthetic fertilizers on the soil. 

Fernandez says Petulante takes sparkling wine a step farther, with minimal intervention and maximum flavor.  The grapes involved - there isn't much in the way of a tech sheet available - are likely Verdejo, Viura or a combination of the two.  This wine has alcohol at 13% abv and retails for $22.

This white, sparkling wine is actually a cloudy yellow color and brings a savory nose of citrus, floral and minerals aplenty.  The palate also rings the citrus bell, with a bit of apple and many minerals thrown into the mix.  The bubbles are scant, but the flavor is what you're really after, right?  This wine delivers white wine flavor by the carload. 


Wednesday, January 26, 2022

A Big Value Wine From Spain

The value wine Borsao comes from Aragon, Spain, which the winery labels as "the birthplace of Garnacha."  The Campo de Borja D.O. in northeastern Spain is where these Garnacha and Tempranillo grapes originated.  Borsao is actually a cooperative, encompassing some 375 winegrowers who contribute to the greater effort.

I discovered Borsao a number of years back, when it was my go-to $5 wine.  Everyone else adopted it as such, and so its popularity grew, along with its price.  Now it's everyone's favorite $10 wine.  Borsao also makes a wonderful Garnacha called Tres Picos.

The separate grapes for Borsao were fermented in stainless steel tanks before being blended.  There is no notation from the winery on aging, except to say that they use new and neutral oak "moderately to tame and add complexity to the wines, rather than impose its presence."  Alcohol sits at 14.5% abv and my bottle was $8 on sale at one of my local grocers.

This is a very dark wine, and its nose comes through with lush blackberry and plum aromas, draped in a savory earthiness.  The palate brings that dark fruit along with a strong sense of minerality.  The acidity is racy, while the tannins are firm but not too forceful.  I cooked with it, but also enjoyed a glass or two in the process. 


Monday, September 27, 2021

Lovely Albariño Wine

Albariño wines are some of the mainstays of the Spanish wine industry, and anyone who likes a good white wine should be on board already.  Albariño is not only a delicious white wine on its own, but it is one of the more food-friendly grapes you’ll find.  In fact, Albariño seems to crave a food pairing so it can show its best, especially with seafood.  

The wines which were made available for an online virtual tasting event were produced in the Rías Baixas region of Spain, up in the northwest corner of the country, the place that Albariño calls home.  I was given three of them for sampling.

Granbazán Étiqueta Verde Albariño 2020

Etiqueta Verde - Green Label - is Granbazán's entry level Albariño.  Importer Skurnik Wines explains that the Verde was made from a combination of free-run and lightly pressed juice.  The wine was fermented with indigenous yeasts in a tank, where it aged on its lees for four months.  

This Rías Baixas Albariño is pale yellow in the glass.  The nose is like a bouquet of flowers, with some elegant citrus notes to hold them together.  Lemon, lime and orange are all here for the smelling.  The palate sings of citrus and apples and has an acidity that is zippy enough for oysters.  The finish shows a wonderful salinity which puts me in mind of the ocean.


Pazo das Bruxas Albariño
2019

The Miguel Torres family asserts that their wine is partly the result of legendary Galician witches, who cast spells to get the vines to produce well.  Now, that's a back story.  There is even a picture of the witches - artist's conception, I'm guessing - on the label.

The Pazo das Bruxas Albariño is produced largely with grapes from the O'Rosal area, combined with some from the Salnés Valley.  The winery says that both areas are known for their Atlantic climates, influenced by the nearby ocean.

The wine is made in stainless steel tanks, with no oak.  Alcohol resides at 12.5% abv and it’s usually sold for just under $20.

This wine has a rich yellow-green tint.  On the nose I thought I smelled some oak, but I was mistaken.  It's all steel.  There is an overriding salinity that mutes the floral, apricot and citrus aspects a bit.  The palate carries that salinity as well.  That, plus a racy acidity, makes me want some oysters with it.


Leira Pondal Albariño
2020

The Pondal winery is in the second generation of turning Albariño grapes into wine.  They also grow Treixadura, Caiño Blanco and Loureira grapes on the estate.

The winery states that the grapes selected for the 2020 Leira Pondal come from vineyards in El Rañado, Torre and El Alto - higher altitude vineyards with less humidity, more ventilation and a greater temperature variation between day and night.  This all allows for a wine with greater aromatic intensity and acidity.   The alcohol level rests comfortably at 13% abv and the retail price is around $18.

This wine brings the floral on the nose, as well as a strong mineral aspect.  The citrus notes include lime, lemon, orange and even a little grapefruit.  The acidity is fairly strong and the finish is lengthy.  


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Monday, March 1, 2021

Rioja Red Now In Half-Bottle Size

Bodega Beronia was founded in Spain's Rioja region in 1973.  The winery explains that a group of friends from the Basque country wanted to make great wines to pair with the food in their Txoko - gastronomic get-togethers.  Those soirees were something more than just a meal, and they wanted something more than just a wine to serve with them.

I was given two bottles of the 2017 vintage of the Beronia Rioja Crianza, a 750ml and a 375ml size.  It is the first vintage in which Beronia has bottled in the little guy, which the winery says is pandemically perfect for "single serve meet-ups with friends at a distance."  The wine is 94% Tempranillo grapes, 5% Garnacha and 1% Mazuelo.

The 2017 vintage featured an April frost, a hot summer drought and August rainfall, resulting in high quality fruit which came in a low yield.  Aging took place over 12 months in barrels made from American oak staves and French oak ends, then three months in the bottle.  Alcohol tips the usual 14.5% abv and the wine retails for $15, $8 in the half-size bottle.  They are imported to the US by Gonzalez Byass.

This Beronia Crianza - the name signifies its oak treatment - shows a dark ruby color in the glass.  The nose displays black fruit and oak aromas like spices and vanilla.  The palate offers a true Tempranillo experience, with plum, blackberry and a smattering of licorice.  The tannins are firm and ready to take on a steak, but if you try the wine with ham or cheese you won’t be disappointed. 


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Wednesday, August 5, 2020

Albariño With A Twist

Bodega Granbazán is in Spain's Rias Baixas region, where they know all about good Albariño.  The winery was established there in the Salnés Valley in 1981.

Granbazán Albariño 2018

The grapes for Etiqueta Ámbar (amber label) came from vines more than 35 years old, destemmed, with a gravity free-run.  Winemaker Jesus Alvarez Otero says that this wine gets fruit from the Finca Tremoedo vineyard, the warmest plots on the estate with the most fertile soils.  The wine was fermented in steel tanks over three weeks, then aged there for five months on the lees, then three months in the bottle.  Alcohol is the expected 13.5% abv and the retail price is $22.

This Albariño offers up a serious and complex nose.  One whiff it's the ocean.  Next whiff it's a field of flowers.  Then, nectarines and tangerine zest.  I know I am in for a treat before I take a sip.  When I do, the pale golden wine delivers stone fruit up front, with plenty of salinity close behind.  The acidity races, then is gone.  It's great while it is there.  That odd citrus/salt flavor lingers, on a finish that is all too brief.


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Monday, June 8, 2020

A Rioja Rosé For The Summer Of Separation

Rosé season, if there really is such a thing, is in full swing despite pandemic measures.  Social distancing is designed to help stem the growth of the virus in our communities, and it really puts a wet blanket over a backyard party, or so I hear.  But rosé is made for backyard parties.

I bellow so much about how pink wines are great any time of year that I’m starting to feel like the old rosado codger.  Rosé wines are as good in December as they are in June.  But since it’s June, let’s have a glass on the patio.  Six feet apart.

The Beronia Rioja Rosé was made from 70% Tempranillo grapes and 30% Garnacha.  Previous vintages had sometimes been heavier on the Garnacha.  Alcohol is easy going and so is the retail price - $13.

I pick up a lot of herbal influence along with some terrific strawberry and cherry aromas.  The fruit plays large on the palate, too.  There is a ton of minerality and a hint of pepper in the sip.  Acidity is fresh, nearly ripping, and the finish is all about the red fruit.


Monday, April 13, 2020

Spain Rescue's Godello Grape

The Valdeorras region in Galicia was named by the Romans, who mined a lot of gold there.  After they had finished their mining days, they planted grapevines in the area.  The 2017 Pagos del Galir Godello is a full varietal wine made from a reclaimed grape.  Godello was figured to be native to Valdeorras before DNA testing showed its Portuguese roots.  The grape was re-introduced to the region during the 1970s.

The white Godello grape, writes Eric Asimov, has been "rescued" by Spain, particularly the area of Valdeorras, in Galicia - in Spain's northwest corner.  Plantings of the grape have risen markedly in recent years, and its grapefruit-tinged flavor profile and wonderful acidity make it a great wine to pair with food, especially summer salads, seafood or even sweet corn tamales.

This 2018 wine was made in steel tanks, then rested on its lees - spent yeast cells - for five months before bottling.  Alcohol is moderate at 13.5% abv and it sells for $17.

This was my first experience with the Iberian Godello grape.  I expected something quite fruity from this wine, but was surprised to find a nose of lanolin, sage and a savory nuttiness.  The palate is just as intriguing, with savory herbs and a distant grapefruit flavor in the background.


Wednesday, April 8, 2020

Rosado - Spanish For Pink 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 the wine world.

The 2019 Viña Real Rosado 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. 

Under the CVNE umbrella, the first Viña Real wines were released in 1920.  The winery says the vineyards run from the mountains of the Sierra de Cantabria down the slope towards the Ebro river basin.  They say "the mountains protect the Rioja Alavesa subregion, where the Atlantic climate is combined with calcareous and clay-based soils."

The 2019 Viña Real Rosado is made from Garnacha, Tempranillo and white Viura grapes grown in Spain's Rioja region.  Alcohol tips only 12.5% abv and the retail price is $14.

The 2019 growing season was reportedly a healthy one in Rioja Alta and Rioja Alavesa.  Rains resulted in less fruit, making the grapes more concentrated and earlier ripening.  The grapes were given several hours of skin contact in stainless steel tanks - enough for the salmon pink color - but they were not pressed. 

The nose carries plenty of ripe, red strawberries with a hefty herbal influence, as if the green stems are included.  On the palate, the fruit elbows the green out of the way, but a lovely, earthy apricot flavor is introduced.  Acidity is good, if not ripping, and the wine’s finish is rather lengthy and very pleasant.


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.