SPANISH WHITE WINES FOR AN INDIAN SUMMER
According to Wikipedia, “Indian summer is a period of unseasonably warm, dry weather that sometimes occurs in autumn in the Northern Hemisphere.” Well, here in Spain, we know better – this isn’t ‘occasional’ at all!
I’m writing this at 1pm during the nascent September of 2016 – the temperature, shaded from a cloudless, sun dominated azure blue sky, is already 27ºC, and expected to rise. Oh yes, Mr. Wikipedia, we know all about Indian Summers!
So this is why I’m writing today about our desire to stick with chilled (cold, even) dry white wines for a little while longer. During the undeniably hot August we’ve just experienced (endured?), I presented on Total FM 91.8, four white wines as the perfect, crisp and refreshing antidote to high temperatures. A deluge of positive comments from listeners has inspired me to let readers know, in case you missed the programmes.
From Lidl, I was delighted to find an Albariño from DO Rías Baixas the stand-out DO of Spain’s Galicia, for just under 6€ – a real bargain! Albariño, of course, is perhaps the best appreciated of all the white wine varieties of Spain – well until Verdejo came to the fore a few years back, but don’t worry, I’ve got Verdejo covered here too!
Ceo Albariño 2015 is a perfect introduction to wines made from this aromatic grape variety, and indeed to those emanating from Rías Baixas, the area generally considered to be Albariño’s natural home. On the nose you find a delightful blend of floral (jasmine and a slight mention of honeysuckle) and fruit (white peaches are dominant, with a little apricot in there too!). Fully fruited on the palate, very fresh and dry, of course.
On the night of the programme the comments I received from listeners, plus before and after the tasting, were just in favour of the second of the two wines tasted. Protos Verdejo 2015 comes from DO Rueda (where else?). You’ll find an abundance of those aromas associated with Sauvignon Blanc, with which Verdejo is sometimes confused (and that’s not a bad thing!) as well as an extra, slightly green vegetal dimension from this variety.
However, the overall sensation, of a really pleasing, slightly creamy fullness, whilst retaining the wonderful fresh acidity, is gained from the wine having spent a few months on its lees, before bottling and final release. The winner on the night, but both wines were really well appreciated.
So popular was the theme, I decided to extend it to the following programme, and, after all, this Summer White Wine theme could run and run, so good and varied are Spanish whites these days. Coto de Ibedo 2015 comes from DO Ribeira, a DO, until recently somewhat in the shadows of nearby DO Rías Baixas. It’s always been known as a wine area that is certain to have fruit driven wines, though in the past, sometimes a little short lived. They’ve upped the ante, re depth and fullness, whilst retaining their fruity raison d’etre.
Treixadura, Loureira and Godello are the varieties used in the fruit orientated blend, so no wonder it’s as fruity as it is! The former (don’t ask me to spell it again, Spell Check, obviously doesn’t drink!), is prevalent in Argentina, where is makes wonderful apricot and dark peach flavoured dry white wines. The second variety is also found in South America and provides some exotic fruit aromas too. Godello (far easier to spell!), readers will have read about before in Cork Talk, and has white stoned fruit on the nose tinged with a little vegetal fennel.
The combination is really lovely, and paired with dishes that are slightly spice and chilli orientated, it’s a definite winner.
Finally, I wanted to try a very Spanish variety, but, perhaps you might consider, a little perversely, given that we are after fresh acidity to cool us down in this Indian Summer, a white with a little oak aging too! Garnacha Blanca (the white sister of the famous red Garnacha) is perfect for this.
Miranda de Secastilla Garnacha Blanca, 2014 (don’t forget, the time in oak prolongs the life of Spanish white wines) from Bodegas Viñas del Vero, DO Somontano, has had three months on its lees (as with the Verdejo above) but has also clearly enjoyed its short time in French oak barricas. Lemon citrus freshness, with some white almond and vanilla notes, and a certain mouthfeel and and extra body, make this wine a winner with chicken and turkey dishes, as well as meaty fish, sourced or not!
NB The next Fine Wine & Gourmet Dine Programme on Total FM 91.8 and www.totalfm.es is scheduled for Sunday October 30th, with an extra thirty minutes – by popular demand. 18:00 – 20:00 hrs Spanish Time