Carol Brown goes on a visit to hotter climates as she uncovers the wines of Spain.
Head to the center of Castilla-Leon and you end up within the predominantly white wine producing area of Rueda. Given its inland place to the north west of Madrid, Rueda is at first look not an apparent go-to zone for excellent white wines.
The latitude may be Mediterranean however the local weather is continental with very chilly winters and sizzling summer time days.
That is balanced out as Rueda sits on a excessive plateau at 700-870 metres above sea stage and there’s additionally a big distinction between day and night time time temperatures which helps retain a freshness of acidity within the grapes.
Rueda was the topic of an incredible latest masterclass hosted by Grasp of Wine, Sarah Jane Evans full with these useful little samples that have been delivered to my door.
The driving drive of Rueda wines is the native Verdejo grape which accounts for round 98% of plantings. It’s distinctive – suppose natural with fennel notes – an depth to the fruit and an virtually bitter (and I imply that in a pleasing approach) end.
These characters do imply it’s a super candidate for chrome steel fermentation and getting old and a few producers are additionally utilizing lees getting old and barrel fermentation with wonderful outcomes.
The next three wines present simply how versatile Verdejo might be:
Bodegas Beronia Verdejo 2019, DO Rueda
Aromas of lemon peel, fennel, herb and white pepper lead on to a dry, tangy textured white with refreshing acidity with notes of grapefruit and herb. Ocado and Waitrose £8.99.
Bodegas Ramon Bilbao ‘Sobre Lias’ 2018, DO Rueda
Fermented in tulip formed concrete vats, this spends 8 months in French and Hungarian oak cask, lees stirring takes place including to the creamy texture. There are scents of zesty citrus and a touch of vanilla. It’s advanced and dry with the tang of pink grapefruit, white peach and fennel. The oak is so delicate giving the wine an additional dimension. Priced £17.75 from greatwine.co.uk
Jose Pariente Barrel Fermented Verdejo 2019, DO Rueda
Fermented in 500 litre and 228 litre French oak, this Verdejo spends 10 months on the lees. Vanilla and spice, fleshy peach and aromatic herbs are within the scent profile. It’s one other wine with a beautiful texture, medium bodied and effectively balanced, it’s dry with a zing of acidity, citrus and spice. Priced £19.89 from bascofinefoods.com
Sauvignon Blanc has settled in Rueda, the lengthy sunshine hours convey a floral and tropical aspect to the wines. Castelo de Medina Sauvignon Blanc 2019, DO Rueda could be very aromatic with ripe notes of tropical mango and pink grapefruit. It’s dry and vibrant with a minerality, juicy peach and lime fruit and an extended, lingering end. Priced £17.75 greatwine.co.uk
If both Verdejo or Sauvignon Blanc seem as the one grape on the label, there should be a minimal of 85% of the named grape, many might be 100%. Verdejo and Sauvignon Blanc additionally work rather well collectively as a mix, a label stating DO (Denominacion of Origin) Rueda might be a minimum of 50% Verdejo.
I don’t need to depart the pink wine drinkers out, so it is a good probability to inform you about one other Spanish masterclass which was delivered to my door. Relatively than specializing in a area, this focus was on a grape-Garnacha (Grenache) from totally different areas in Spain. The tasting confirmed simply how good and the way numerous the types of Garnacha might be.
Main the enlightening presentation was Norrel Robertson MW. Born and raised in Scotland and a graduate of Aberdeen College, Norrel has labored within the wine business for round 30 years and in 2003 moved to Spain the place he now produces award profitable wines in excessive altitude vineyards in Calatayud, Aragon.
I’ll start with a wine made by Norrel, El Escoces Volante ‘La Muta’ Outdated Vine Garnacha 2018, DO Calatayud with its scents of darkish berries, plum and spice. There’s a raise to the acidity with gentle tannins and an depth to the plum and cherry flavours. RRP £10 Cork and Cask, Edinburgh and Juniper Wine Café, Dunfermline.
CVNE Contino Garnacha 2018, DOCa Rioja
Perfumed with layers of bramble, raspberry, clove and spice, this single property wine is full bodied, the tannins are effectively built-in and there are spice notes of liquorice and cinnamon too. £22-£24 from drinkfinder.co.uk or dbyrne-finewines.co.uk
Domaine Lupier, ‘El Terroir’ 2017, DO Navarra
Vibrant pink berry coulis scents mingle with grape typical white pepper notes with hints of clove and a mineral edge. Tannins are structured, the acidity recent and there’s a scrumptious purity to the pink berry flavours. Priced £22.99 from bbr.com
Bodegas Bernabeleva, Navaherreros Garnacha de Bernabeleva 2018, DO Madrid
From 40-80 yr previous vines grown on decomposed granite (which provides a paler color) the aromas are floral with cherry, raspberry and spice. Tannins are gentle, it is a glassful of crunchy pink berries and cherries. Accessible from Principal Avenue Buying and selling firm, Melrose RRP £21.99.