I recently attended a press tasting of Spanish wines entitled Spain on the High Street. There were lots of pretty good wines there, but sadly many of the reds failed to excite me.
That is not because they were bad or that you cannot get exciting Spanish red wines on the high street – you can. I defy anyone not to be excited by this wine, or this – they are both amongst my favourite easily obtainable delicious red wines of the moment. I would also give this a go if I was you, it isn’t in the same league and Aldi are not on many high streets, but the wine is amazing value for money. A little more pricey, but a great experience for Christmas would be this little gem of a wine.
So, perhaps the selection just didn’t excite me that day – however some of the whites were very good indeed and I thought that I would bring a few of the best value ones to your attention in the run up to Christmas.
Fresh, unoaked & zesty dry whites:
2009 Torres Viña Sol
Bodegas Miguel Torres, Penedes, Catalunya
I know, very predictable, but you know what? It was pretty good, I have not had many Torres wines for a long time, but on this showing I should give them all a go. My note on the day said, ‘slight touch of spritz, light-bodied, crisp and fresh with lemon and a softer mandarin and nectarine character with a clean, fresh finish.’ 87/100 points.
Grapes: Airen & Sauvignon Blanc (plus Verdejo)
To some degree this humble wine stole the show for me, who on earth would have thought I would get excited by a white from La Mancha? This is mainly the traditionally dull Airen, but it also has 10% Sauvignon Blanc and another 10% Verdejo, both of which liven it up and make it tasty – superb wine making does the rest, I especially like the lowish alcohol level.
Light bodied and crisp and really surprisingly good, this is fresh and lively, very well balanced, agreeable to drink and has a long clean finish. Not complex, but very enjoyable – 87/100 points.
£4.79 a bottle from Waitrose.
Enjoyable and fresh with nice acidity cutting through the fat and a lovely salty twang on the palate too that makes it a perfect aperitif.
I like this with it’s peachiness and freshness, the back palate has a little sweet ripe succulence balanced by that salty and acid thing – 89/100 points.
£10.99 a bottle from Marks & Spencer.
Richer, barrel-fermented dry whites:
Grapes: 90% Viura & 10% Malvasía
The nose is lemony and mandarin with the merest hint of toast, smoke and spice from being barrel fermented.
The palate is smooth, creamy moving to oily with a bracing seam of tangerine acidity and a lovely creamy nutty texture. Very elegant and refined wine that would be great with turkey, chicken or pork – 89/100 points.
Grapes: 85% Viura & 15% Malvasía
The palate is decidedly medium bodied, but has lots of nutty, macadamia and brazils, as well as juicy nectarine fruit. The texture is lovely and the seam of acidity keeps it very well balanced indeed. The oak is delicate and well integrated with an oily toasty quality and creaminess. Pretty long finish with green plum fruit coming to the fore, this is a very good wine with perfectly handled oak – 89/100 points.
£7.99 from Sainsbury – making it a great bargain!
Both these barrel-fermented white wines are beautifully crafted and elegant, in neither of them is the oak dominant, it just lends a weight and a touch of creaminess to the palate.
So, there you are, if you fancy a good, but affordable white wine for Christmas – you could do a lot worse than try a couple of these.