Spanish whites deserve some attention
I would definitely classify myself as a Spanish wine drinker. Sure, I drink wines from all over the world, but Spain is special to me. The value-to-quality ratio is one of the best in the world and they make wine to suit any palate. Although not well known, the grape varieties Spanish winemakers use still seem to spark the interest of wine drinkers: Grenacha (Grenache), Tempranillo and Monastrell (Mourvedre) lead the charge.
But wait, I’m not talking about red wines this time, I’m talking about white wines. And here, many of the things I said above are also true, except that I would not classify myself as a Spanish white drinker. In fact, I rarely reach for a bottle of Spanish white when given the option. Even though the value-to-quality ratio remains high, Spain is not the first place my mind wanders when thinking of a white wine. And by the looks of things, many are in the same boat.
It could be because the varieties used are even more foreign to drinkers than the reds — grapes like Verdejo, Albarino and Godello, just to name a few. And if you delve into the realm of sparkling wine (Cava), the recognition level leaves the familiarity chart entirely, with Xarelo, Parellada and Macabeo (aka, Viura) not exactly household names
The following bottles will not be recognizable to many of you, but in their own way, they deliver to white drinkers the thrill we Spanish red drinkers have known for years. Spain is a great place for making and discovering wines without breaking the bank, I’ll bet this year’s summer find is somewhere on this list — enjoy the experimentation and discovery.
Segura Viuda Heredad Reserva Brut Cava ($32.95)
Kicking things off with a little bubbly, as in wine reviews, as in life: big acidity here with green apple, lemon drop and a long, persistent finish.
Bohigas Reserva Brut Cava ($18.95)
Another from the bubbly department: dry, crisp and fresh with plenty of lemon and apple notes. A real bargain in the world of bubbles.
Codorníu Selección Raventós Brut Cava ($16.95)
One more for you sparkling fans, the Raventós is a special cuvée from Codorníu, a recognizable name in Spanish Cava: lemon-lime and baked apple all help give this wine nice depth and flavour.
Cune Rueda Verdejo 2016 ($13.95)
There is a lovely dichotomy here on the tongue as the grapefruit zest plays with the pear skin and adds a note of mineral to the finish.
Paco & Lola Albariño 2016 ($18.95)
There is always something to be said for simplicity: this white delivers on lemon pith and floral flavours from beginning to end.
El Camino Rectoral do Umia Albariño 2015 ($15.95)
Pleasant floral, lemon, apple and grapefruit notes with good acidity. Lively and ready for summertime refreshment.
Castelo do Mar Albariño 2015 ($15.95)
Wildflower honey and citrus top the bill here, followed by peach, apricot and a hint of pear. A perfect pairing with seafood and salad.
Corona de Aragón Garnacha Blanca 2016 ($17.95)
The white Garnacha grape makes a rare appearance here and it delivers on apple, pear and melon. Think Pinot Gris but with the addition of mineral and spice.
Vetiver Viura 2014 ($14.95)
While the mainstay of Cava, Viura (aka, Macabeo) stands pretty well on its own when called upon: dried pear and pineapple seem to keep things rolling along in a juicy way that lends itself to quaffability.
Luis Cañas fermentado en barrica Blanco 2015 ($18.95)
Two grapes go into this blend: the Malvasia here is borrowed from the Greeks while the Viura is indigenous. The wine is barrel fermented and aged for 4 months, which does not allow the oak to interfere with the fruit-forwardness of the wine, but still gives it some depth of character.
Alba Vega Albariño 2015 ($16.95)
Fans of Vinho Verde might note the similarity in name and flavour profile of the Albariño grape to its Portuguese counterpart. There’s a richness of fruit here, lush mouthfeel and an acidity that makes it a good pairing with many foods, including pork, chicken and fish.
Follas Novas Albariño 2015 ($19.95)
This wine follows in the path of some Vinho Verde, as in it leaves a little bit of Spritz behind, which adds liveliness and freshness. There’s even a little floral note to be found.
Barón de Ley White 2016 ($13.95)
Another of those Malvasia/Viura blends, this one speaks of white fruit-forwardness: pear, apple and tropical fruits along with honey and just a shake of white pepper.
Valtea Albariño 2016 ($22.95)
Impressed by the white fruit/tropical fruit aspects of this white, with the pear and apple mixing generously with the apricot, citrus and pineapple. There’s also a real pleasant mineral note on the finish.
Eidosela Albariño 2015 ($14.95)
Citrus runs right through this wine from beginning to end: the grapefruit and lime is a reminder of Sauvignon Blanc, with some melon and mineral on the finish.
Marqués de Cáceres Verdejo 2015 ($14.95)
The spice of white pepper makes an appearance here along with Bosc pear, grapefruit and pine. Ultimately, it’s the acidity that keeps everything in check.