I’ll be very interested to see how these Peregrino (pilgrim, in Spanish!) wines progress over the next few years. I received from Bodegas Gordonzello, via Ondara’s wine shop Aguilar, three bottles of the wines they were showing at the shop one evening when I couldn’t attend. www.gordonzello.com

I was attracted to them as they are made with relatively rare varieties which hail from the DO Tierra de Léon region, as does the winery in question. I’ve written before about Albarín Blanco and Prieto Picudo and was impressed then – so I was keen to try some other versions, and here I had a white, rosé and a red, again!

Firstly, please note again, that Albarín is not the same variety as Albariño, which will be known to most readers. But, that doesn’t mean it’s a lesser grape at all – different flavour and aroma profiles, but really enjoyable.

With vineyards at an altitude of 750 meters above sea level – it’s a good start. Temperatures can be very high during the growing season, but at night, at this height, there is some respite allowing the grapes to develop far better. On the nose, Peregrino Albarín, might remind the taster of a French Sauvignon Blanc, that’s subtle, rather than in-your-face NZ Sauv. Or you might first think of Spain’s Verdejo, one made with indigenous yeast, rather than cultivated and mass produced yeast, designed to bring out, and even exaggerate certain flavours and aromas. Or then again, a taster new to the Albarín may think the wine is like a combination of the two!

This a little nutty on the nose, but with good fruit – perhaps greengages and maybe a little kiwi, with a citrus twist? It’s a lighter style than the one I’d tasted earlier – an aperitif wine for sure, also pair it with salad. And in this heat (it’s currently approaching 40ºC at the time of writing!) I’d approve of a cube of ice and a little sparkling water, making a wholly different, refreshing spritzer.

It was close, but my favourite wine of the three was in fact the Rosado. Yes, I’m aware that we are having very rosé weather at the moment – rosado wine is so refreshing in the hot weather – but it’s not this fact that endeared to the wine to me particularly. It’s just that it’s a really fresh rose petal wine, with soft red fruit and a slight red peach flavour too!

We are eating far less meat these days. Vegetarian options are good, also fish, and I like to pair the colour of the fish, sometimes, with the colour of the wine. Salmon and Trout can work well in this way with rosé wine, and so it was with the salmon fillet marinated in chilli oil, ginger, garlic and a touch of lime. The match worked well.

La Costana 2014 Crianza is the red wine I tasted. It’s from the same bodega, though another name, and made with the same variety as made the rosado, Prieto Picudo. It’s crianza was 12 months in a mixture of French, American and Hungarian oak.

I wish I’d tasted this wine two years ago, when it would have had the fruit of its youth, which is now, unfortunately on the wane. I have found that in the 20+ years I’ve been writing about Spanish wines there has been a change in the style, generally of crianza wines. To me they don’t seem to be built to last the perhaps 5 – 7 years that they used to manage with some ease.

Perhaps the 2014 vintage wasn’t such a good one, perhaps the majority of the vines used were a little too young? I’m not sure but, whilst it is drinking quite well, it’s more the oak that is to the fore.

It may also be that this variety is perhaps better when drunk younger? The red I tasted several months ago was from the 2016 harvest. Of course, there may have been some vintage variation, those vines may have been older, different oak and time in barrels might have been used – there are many variables. However, it may be that Prieto Picudo is at its best when enjoying the vibrancy of youth – but then, aren’t we all?!

colin@colinharknessonwine.com  Facebook Colin Harkness

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