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Spanish white wines

Tasting at London wine shop La Vigneronne

Spain, with all its sunshine, is best known as red wine territory. But I was very pleasantly surprised by this tasting of an eclectic range of Spanish whites, which unearthed several gems. I’ll let the tasting notes do the talking, and leave you with the thought that perhaps we should be taking Spanish whites much more seriously.  

Conde de Caralt Xarel.Lo, DO Penedès
No vintage is indicated on the bottle, but this is really good, and a bargain. Quite a light, lean nutty nose with some bready notes and fresh acidity. The palate is quite chunky  and nutty with lovely savoury fruit. Classy and quite  balanced: nicely savoury with good acidity. Very good/excellent (£5.50 retail)

Conde de Caralt Xarel.Lo Barrel Fermented, DO Penedès
Again , no vintage indicated. Very fresh, bright nutty nose with some restrained toasty barrel ferment notes. Attractive full flavoured palate with chunky, nutty, savoury character. Quite a lean wine but reasonably classy. Very good+ (£5.50 retail)

Torres Fransola Sauvignon Blanc 2000, DO Penedès
Wonderful nose is rich, grassy and exotic, but still quite elegant. Expressive and aromatic with lots of complexity. Palate is quite full, herby and grassy, with great concentration. One of my favourite Sauvignons. Excellent (£12.95)

Viñas del Vero Chardonnay 1998, DO Somontano
Appealing forward, intense nose with lots of barrel ferment character. Bready, toasty and rich on the palate, which is concentrated with lots of savoury nutty fruit and new oak. Quite an oaky wine but lots of flavour and intensity. Very good/excellent (£6.99 Oddbins)

Mantel Blanco Verdejo/Sauvignon Blanc 2000 DO Rueda
Lovely aromatic grassy/herby nose. Very intense and fruity with a distinct grassy edge. The palate shows a good density with a rounded fruity character. A nice example. Very good/excellent (retail c. £7)

Txomin Extaníz DO Getariako Txakolina
The vintage of this Basque country wine is not disclosed. Distinctive smoky, slightly yeasty nose. The palate is slightly spritzy, refreshing and quite elegant with smoky fruit and a rounded texture. Savoury and full flavoured but quite delicate. Unusual. Very good+ (Harvey Nicols £18)

Clos d’Agon 1999, Vino de Mesa de Calonge (Costa Brava)
Clos d’Agon is a project involving Peter Sisseck, and this white is full of interest. It’s a blend of Viognier, Roussanne and Marsanne, and the result is quite Rhône-like. Quite a rich intense nose with fat honey-tinged fruit. Soft-textured palate is intense but with a sort of soft, soapy character typical of these grapes, with some peachy fruit. A real Rhône fan’s wine. Very good/excellent (retail c. £12)

Vionta Estate Albariño 2000, DO Rías Baixas
Quite an expressive nose which is smoky and aromatic, with nutty, grapey fruit. Lovely intense, savoury palate with bright acidity and good concentration. Rich yet savoury, this is a distinctive white wine. Very good/excellent (£10.50)

Viña Gravonia 1988, DOC Rioja
Old fashioned but absolutely brilliant. Striking, expressive nose with lots of lifted acidity. Very powerful and complex: odd but nice with a bready, nutty edge. The palate is nutty and rich with lemony acid dominating the finish: very lively in character. Very good/excellent

Lopez de Heredia 1940s Cepa Graves Blanco 4 ano, DOC Rioja
Deep yellow/gold colour. Very toasty, rich, almost sweet edge to the nose, which is perfumed with no rough edges. The palate is well preserved with nutty fruit and high acidity. The texture is very light. This is just a tiny bit vinegary on the finish but overall it is really attractive and very interesting. Not many whites would still be drinking well after 60 years. Very good+

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