My summer Top 10 list rolls on with yet another new grape. Verdejo. For many years Verdejo was used to make an oxidized Sherry-like wine until the 1970′s when Marqués de Riscal paved a new path for a more refreshing offering. A decade later, in the 80′s, these were recognized with DO status and another three decades after that I am first experiencing them. What did I think?
Price: $16.99 @ Vinos Unico imported by Vinos Unico
What They Said:
Per The Spanish Table “Blanco Nieva is a classic Rueda region white wine made from the indigenous Verdejo grape. Crisp, bright and refreshing, this tank fermented wine will work as a stand alone refresher on a hot day as well as during a meal where it will pair well with salads, egg dishes and all manner of seafood. The vines that produce the fruit for this wine are quite old (40+ years). Some of the vines are planted on original root stock that still thrives in this region thanks to the sandy soils that resisted the phylloxera. blight of the previous century. To taste this wine is to experience the true flavor of Northern Spain.”
What I Think:
(12.5%) 100% Verdejo – Yellowish with a green hue in the glass. What a nose on this beauty! Intense grassy, grapefruit aromas. This one is immediately fresh, crisp and vibrant on the palate with bright, zesty lime flavors over a stony, mineral backbone. Passion fruit emerges on the mid-palate and remains throughout the dry, refreshing finish. This wine isn’t shy. It will smack you over the head and you are going to like what you get. The firm acidity here makes this one a compliment for nearly any food (ceviche would be my first choice). It is also perfectly suited to drink on its own. Pair with a sunny day! I’m getting me some more of this one. Viva Verdejo!
While I’m a big fan of this one it may be a bit hard to find. If you’re itching to try your first Verdejo I’ve also enjoyed the Shaya which seems to be more widely available.
Price: $19.99 @ K&L Wines imported by Grapes of Spain
What They Said:
Per K&L Wines “This is an incredibly rare, fully mature, Spanish gem. Produced from the steep, slate, terraced vineyards of Bierzo by Spain’s legendary Mariano Garcia (while he was still making wine at Vega Sicilia!), here is a beautiful example of a perfectly aged Spanish wine that has developed quite beautifully in bottle. Produced from 40% Cabernet, 30% Merlot and 30% Mencia, think of it as a supple, balanced, old school styled Bordeaux blend with a Castillian twist. Savory cherry, hints of sage leaf, green and black peppercorn and an unmistakable character of mature Cabernet family aromas (many people liken Mencia to Cabernet Franc, which completes this Graves style blend) make for one gorgeous bottle of wine. And Mariano Garcia made it at the same time he was busy working on Vega Sicilia “Unico,” which is a good few hundred dollars more. For fans of good, honest affordable bordeaux and old school California Cabs, this K&L exclusive could be right up your alley.”
What I Think:
Given I have a case of the ’05 in the cellar I had to take the opportunity to see how this one might age. This bottling, an interesting blend of 40% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Merlot and 30% Mencia, is the Spanish version of Bordeaux and seems it may be worthy of a name of its own (e.g Super Tuscan). Perhaps we should let the wine decide…
On the nose it shows gorgeous dark fruit and herbs. The palate shows dry cherries and black olives (with a hint of rhubarb) that frame themselves with a dry, cedar backbone. The finish shows this wines age with perfectly integrated tannins and spices that last and last. For those sensitive this wine may be overly dry but I still find it to be smooth, silky, and elegant. If you missed the chance to try the ’99 K&L Wines just sent me an email to let me know the 2000 (which they described as “more muscular, ageworthy, and a bit more impressive” is now in stock. I already added a bottle to my cart, hope it can deliver on their promise!
Thanks to Viva La Wino for tipping me off to this one! You can find his thoughts here.