“In Spain, no matter if you make screwdrivers, at some point after you have saved a little money, the first thing you want to do is own a winery. It is very important to the Spanish soul.”
Yolanda Garcia Viadero, winemaker, Bodegas Valduero
Karen MacNeil in her tome, The Wine Bible, says that the Spanish use the verb elaborar instead of fabricar when talking about making wine. This implies consciousness, time and the labor of creation rather than mere production. And as a result, Spain has recently catapulted its wines to a far higher level of quality.
Palate is proud to carry a great selection of Spanish wines and we would like to feature three of them, nice summer whites, for this week’s news. Spain is a huge land mass of coastlines, mountains and high, hot, and dry plains.
Our first featured white is Casamaro 2014 Verdejo ($14). This wine comes from Rueda, one of the most important white wine regions in Spain. The Rueda region has extremely cold winters and fiercely hot summers, an ideal environment for growing the Verdejo grape. Palate’s Casamaro is all Verdejo making for a wine that has lots of bright lemon peel and blossom on the nose with stone fruit notes. It gives off a nice minerality that makes you want more. Many wine authorities consider Verdejo whites to be Spain’s best white wine. Its clean, sharp acidity makes an excellent match with tapas, as well as tacos and like most Spanish whites, with seafood.
Moving to the far northwest corner of Spain, to the Rias Baixas region in Galicia, you might think you were in Ireland. Mountainous, green with lots of rain, this region is famous for its local grape, Albarino, known in Spain as the “aristocratic” grape. We carry the Minarellos Albarino 2014 ($13), a wine that enlivens the palate with a harmonious blend of fresh fruit and wild herbs. Fresh, light with a burst of acidity, this wine is fermented in small stainless steel tanks after a careful maceration. This wine places itself somewhere between a light creaminess and a crisp zestiness. Since most of Galicia has a coastline, this wines is excellent paired with crab cakes, prawns, salmon, fresh sardines. Think briny and you can’t go wrong.
Our third pillar of Spanish wines is different. It comes from the Penedes region of Catalonia. Our Avinyo Petillant 2015 ($16) is a young, refreshing, vibrant wine with a tingling effervescence which makes it the region’s traditional summer quaffer. It is 60% Macabeu and 40% Petit Grain Muscat. The name means prickly but that quality is softened by notes of honeysuckle and almond with a bracingly dry, mineral finish. This is a wine seen often in Barcelona where it graces the tables topped by grilled fish, squid, garlic, and tomatoes drizzled in heavy Spanish olive oil.
Along with these white, Palate also carries a number of excellent Spanish reds, so whether white for the summer or red for the coming chill of autumn, come in, learn of few words of Spanish and let us give you the tour of Spain, Europe’s third pillar of good wine.