Warm weather and a chilled bottle of white wine are a perfect pairing, and Spain offers some of the best discoveries for your summer wine drinking.
While Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, and Pinot Grigio may be the three most recognized white grapes, varietals like Xarel-lo,Viura, Palomino, and Godello offer a uniquely Spanish white wine experience. While they may not be household names, once you experience their charms we’re sure you’ll become a fan. Here are four of our favorite Spanish white wines that you should be drinking this summer.
A Coroa Godello 2013
Located on top of Roman ruins in the heart of Galicia’s Valdeorras Denomination, this 100% Godello wine is grown in slate soils at varying heights averaging 500m above sea level, protecting the grapes from the heat of Valdeorras’ valley floor. The vineyards feature a variety of exposures, and all are hand-harvested and sustainably farmed. Vinification occurs at low temperatures using natural yeasts and then the bottles are lees-rested for six months. Fans of un-oaked Chardonnay will fall in love with the crisp minerality and vibrant fruit notes of mango, apple, and pear being predominant. Pair this with chilled oysters on the half shell or cracked crab.
Baron De Ley Rioja Blanco 2014
When most people think Rioja, they think Tempranillo, and while Rioja is most famous for its red grapes, this Rioja Blanco is a great discovery. A blend of 90% Viura and 10% Malvasia, the grapes for this wine were hand harvested in the western part of the Rioja DOCa (Denominación de Origen Calificada) where a cooler, rainier climate results in better growing conditions for white wines. There are two styles of Rioja Blanca, the first and more traditional is matured in oak for long periods and can benefit from extended cellaring. Baron De Ley falls into the more modern category, with a dry, light body and bright acidity. Pinot Grigio enthusiasts will find that these modern-style Rioja Blancos deliver a similar flavor profile, with a uniquely Spanish twist. Grilled shrimp or chicken kebabs will bring out the best complementary flavors in this wine.
Raventos I Blanc “Silencis” Xarel-lo 2013
Hailing from Catalonia, halfway between the Mediterranean coast and the inland mountains, Raventos I Blanc is most famous for their sparkling wines, but this still offering of Xarel-lo is a true winner. Produced in the Penedes DO, which is most famous for Cava sparkling wines, still Xarel-lo wines have become a trendy white in Spain. With its classic Mediterranean herb nose of fennel and anise, and racy acidity tempered by salinity and a soft herbal bitterness at the end, this wine pairs beautifully with fresh fish; think herb-stuffed branzino with lemon. Fans of Sauvignon Blanc will appreciate the flavor profile of this wine.
Lustau Palo Cortado Peninsula Sherry NV
Southern Spain’s Andalucia region is home to the oldest vineyards in the country. Romans planted vines in this area approximately 3,000 years ago; the most famous region in the area focuses on three towns, the most famous being Jerez de la Frontera, which gives sherry its name (“sherry” being an Anglicization of Jerez). Made from Palomino grapes that grow in the bright, chalky soil of Jerez, this wine is produced in a solera system and averages approximately 12 years old. This Palo Cortado is the rarest style of wine made in Jerez, featuring the rich and pungent nose of an Amontillado sherry combined with the powerful, oxidized character of an Oloroso. This offering from Lustau is a perfect introduction to the charm of sherry and features a rich, nutty flavor profile. Enjoy this slightly chilled, paired with charcuterie, roasted nuts, hard cheeses, and grilled peaches. If you haven’t discovered sherry yet, this Lustau Palo Cortado is a great place to start.