Spanish whites for the summer

I know it may seem cliched to say that I only drink white in the summer but I do seem to gravitate towards them once the thermometer starts heading up past 75 degrees F. and the sun starts making (almost) daily appearances. Since I’m always on the lookout for new and different wines, I ran across these two Spanish examples, Pleyades Macabeo 2007, DO Cariñena and Ermita Veracruz Verdejo 2006, DO Rueda, the other day and snapped them up. I tend to get a bit excited when I try something new, there’s always that frisson of discovery and expectation. And, I have to say, these two were excellent examples of crisp, dry, unoaked, perfect-for-a-sunny-day wines. The DO Cariñena is situated to the west of Catalunya in northeastern Spain and is probably better known for its red wines then its whites but this macabeo was a real charmer. Macabeo is usually used as one of the three varieties blended to make Spanish cava. Here it’s allowed to strike out on its own as a still white wine. The colour alone signals that this is a wine that doesn’t take itself too seriously, being a shade of pale lemon. I wouldn’t say this was an overly complicated wine either but it was crisp and fresh with a nice nose of lemon and pineapple, very clean with a nice bit of weightiness on the palate. I detected plenty of bright, cripsy citrus flavours and a good finish. I found this a very enjoyable wine to drink out in the garden or at the park. 13%alc Retail £6.99 Whereas macabeo is primarily known as a blending grape, verdejo wines are quite well known and the DO Rueda is justly famous for the verdejos it produces. The Ermita Veracruz Verdejo 2006 is an good example of whites from this region. My nose was greeted by lashings of grapefruit, orange peel and white flowers along with a streak of minerality underlying it all. After giving it a good sniff I...

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Raimat Abadia

The Codorniu tasting was a long one. First the sparkling and then the still wines. I have to admit that after all those sparklings, I was beginning to get a bit tipsy, especially since this was an informal tasting session after work. But I soldiered on and sampled the wines of Raimat which is the still wine arm of Codorniu. A bit of background on Raimat. They are one of Spain’s most progressive winemakers today. Two years ago they brought in a whole new winemaking team and are using the latest technological advances to produce top quality wines. They even go so far as to do satellite mapping of their vineyards to analyze the soil. Raimat Abadia has been repackaged for 2008 to reflect all the new advances being made at Raimat. The vineyards are based in NE Spain, DO Costers del Segre in Catalunya. Their tagline is “Spanish wines beyond Rioja” and I think that they’ve proved that Spain has a lot more to offer then tempranillo. First up was the Raimat Abadia Crianza 2005. A blend of Cab. Sauv., Merlot and Tempranillo, aged 10 months in American oak and then a further 6 months in French. On the nose, aromas of plum and stewed fruits, a bit of spice and toast. A lovely medium bodied wine with more of those plummy fruits and hints of sweet spice and chocolate once I’d swished it around my mouth. I liked this wine, easy on it’s own or with a meal. The next two wines were whites. The Raimat Abadia Blanc de blanc 07, a blend of chardonnay and albarino. Albarino is unusual for this part of Spain as most of it is grown in the northwest, around Galicia. On pouring, aromas of tropical fruit and what I can only describe as pineapple pie hit me on my nose. This medium bodied wine had loads of pineapple flavours and hints of grapefruit on the finish. Very refreshing and I could imagine drinking it with a...

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