Showing posts with label Verdejo. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Verdejo. Show all posts

Friday, March 22, 2024

A gorgeous Verdejo from the South. Robles Piedra Luenga Montilla - Moriles (DO)

Robles Piedra Luenga Verdejo Montilla - Moriles (DO), 2022, 13% ABV

Stockists: Mary Pawle Wines

A gorgeous Verdejo from the South.

This gorgeous Verdejo comes from the little-known Denominacion Montilla-Moriles in Andalucia (in the warm south of Spain). Limpid gold in the glass and with a fresh and fruity bouquet, light fennel notes too, rising towards your nose, this is quite a temptation. 

The attraction grows on the palate, intense and complex, a powerful bunch of flavours, raisins and other dried fruits in the melange and a touch of citrus.

Once gross lees are removed, the wine is aged on its fine lees with weekly “bâtonnage”. This provides, among other things, complexity, intensity, and persistence. Mild and juicy and balanced with a small kick of refreshing acidity, it is not easy to let this Verdejo from the South out of your sight.

The Robles family has been dedicated to wine-making in Montilla (Southern Spain) since 1927. In the late 1990s, “the third generation takes over the winery and understands the need to incorporate organic viticulture and work with indigenous yeasts into the tradition of the winery”.

Pairings recommended, mostly from Spanish sources, are:  excellent as an aperitif and as an accompaniment to fresh and complex dishes such as cod and orange salad. It can be served with seafood, trout and fish in general. It can also accompany fresh, lightly aged cheeses, and even slightly smoked ones, making brie-type cheeses especially pleasant. Serve at 7 to 9 degrees.

Very Highly Recommended.

The ecological care that the vineyard receives is vital, so important: “it is a nursery for yeasts and is ultimately responsible for our wines being able to express their identity: the faithful reflection of the soil and the grapes. The Verdejo grape adopts the identity of the Córdoba countryside.” And this example can be truly called a “Verdejo from the South”.

Verdejo is mainly grown in northwest Spain, in Castilla y León and particularly in the Denominación de Origen Rueda, which is just south of Valladolid.

Tuesday, January 31, 2023

From the heart of Spain. Attention to detail makes this Verdejo different class.

From the heart of Spain. Attention to detail makes this Verdejo different class.

Protos Verdejo 2021 Rueda (DO) 2021, 13% ABV

€15.30 Heart of Spain

The vast majority of the world's Verdejo grape crop is grown in the sandy soils of Rueda, one of Spain’s top DOs for white wines. Exotic aromatics and crisp acidity help make this full-bodied wine a terrific companion at the table, especially if fish or chicken is on the menu. Sometimes it is blended but this Protos is 100% Verdejo.

Straw yellow colour with greenish hues, very clean and bright. Aromas are of tropical (pineapple, lime) and closer-to-home fruits (pear, melon and citrus). Thanks to the melange of fruits and the grape’s typical natural acidity, the palate is absolutely pleasing. The light ageing on fine lees provides roundness, body and good structure. And then you have a refreshing and flavourful finish.

Before they get to the winery,  the grapes for this wine are mechanically harvested at night in order to obtain the fruit in the best possible state of health. There’s a cold maceration of 4/5 hours. The ageing on fine lees goes on for about 3 months, “depending on daily tastings”.

It is recommended to serve between 7 and 10 ºC. Food pairings suggested: White fish, tuna, sushi, seafood rice dishes, paella, pasta, Asian food, chicken, fresh or blue cheeses.

Very Highly Recommended.

For the past four or five years, Heart of Spain have been selling wines, cheese and charcuterie from Castilla Y Leon, Tierra de Sabor (Land of Flavour), in the Fota Retail Park near Carrigtwohill, Co. Cork. The wines come mostly from Toro DO, Biers DO, Ribera DO, and Rueda DO.

Heart of Spain 

Wednesday, November 16, 2022

Two of my favourite grapes, Verdejo and Pinot Noir, making beautiful wines

 Two of my favourite grapes. Verdejo and Pinot Noir making beautiful wines

De Alberto Verdejo Rueda (DO) 2021, 13.5% ABV,  €11.95 (was 15.45)

What could I expect from this organic Verdejo? The label hints included: aromatic, fruity, fatty, oily.

Straw is the colour, and there is a tinge of green. Aromas are intense and inviting, white fruit with notes of fennel.  Four months on lees has given it excellent body.  On the palate, it is balanced, is fresh from the start and, with good acidity and a streak of lime, intense all through to the lingering finish.

You’ll enjoy this one on its own or with poultry, fish and seafood. Wine Folly says it is a great food wine and palate cleanser and suggests fish tacos, lime chicken, carnitas, and seitan steaks (plant based meat substitute). Serve at around 12 degrees. Very Highly Recommended. Good value too by the way, more so when on offer.

Importers O’Briens tell us the Guttierez family have been producing wines in Rueda for five generations, in a stunning 350-yr-old winery, complete with a kilometre of subterranean ageing cellars. The Verdejo grape is king here and is one of Spain's top white wine varieties..

The producers say the 100% Verdejo wine is Certified Agriculture Organic and is made exclusively with grapes from Pago Monte San Martín, “located at the first settlement that today is our village, Serrada” and that the fruit has received “the most meticulous care and an expert winemaking”.

Virtually all the Verdejo in the world is grown in Spain and the vast majority of it in Rueda. It is the characteristic grape of the region but, according to World Atlas of Wine, up to the 1970s, the grape was used to make sherry-like wines; then Marqués de Riscal came in and used it to make fresh dry table wines and Verdejo hasn’t looked back since.

Surprised by the all-white synthetic cork, one that is reusable, recyclable and is made from LDPE (low density polyethylene). Easy to withdraw though with my normal corkscrew.


Top Wines 2022. With Reviews & Irish Stockists. 


Domaine Begude Le Cerisier Pinot Noir Aude (IGT) 2021, 13% ABV, €16.95, O’Briens Wines

This cuvée, named after the majestic cherry tree at the entrance to Begude, has a cherry red colour. Indeed, this organic wine is packed with cherry flavours, some wild strawberry and raspberry also getting in the mix. It is light and pleasant, juicy too, with very soft tannins emerging towards the finale. Approachable, easy-drinking and Highly Recommended.

Serve at 11-14 degrees and enjoy as an aperitif. The producers say it is the perfect BBQ tipple, “a delight with steak and other red meats”, while importers O’Brien Wines add that, when slightly chilled, it is perfect with fish dishes. A versatile wine then, vegetarian friendly too, and excellent value also. Even more in my case, as I bought it for €13.45 in their August sale.

Surprising enough that you can get a fine Pinot Noir in the deep south. The organic vineyard is in the hills of Limoux, South of France. The growing conditions are similar to those in Burgundy and indeed, 80% of the vineyard’s production is Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. The long cool growing season here allows for well balanced, fruit driven wines that are underpinned with a natural freshness. 

This is one of a number of Pinot Noirs produced by Begude and the grapes are grown high in the foothills of the French Pyrenees. Fertilised using only natural manures and cultivated with the utmost respect for the environment.


Best Value Wines 2022 Under €18.00. With Reviews & Irish Stockists. 


Monday, January 6, 2020

Not the usual suspects: Vermentino and Verdejo

Not the usual suspects: Vermentino and Verdejo

When most of us think of white wine, the Vermentino and Verdejo grapes, don't immediately spring to mind. But they are, now, favourites of mine and the two below are excellent examples. Vermentino is from Italy, one of its most distinctive grapes and thrives in coastal areas such as Sardinia's rocky Gallura region. By the way, there is a very rare red Vermentino.

Verdejo is best known through the delicious wines that come from Rueda in Spain though our example below is from neighbouring Castilla (a region where suggests it is indigenous). "Wherever the variety's origins, Rueda is its undisputed home now; the variety is extremely successful there, and is grown almost nowhere else in Europe."

Cantina Mesa, `Giunco` Vermentino di Sardegna (DOC) 2018, 13.5%, €24.99.
Baggot Street Wines
Cinnamon Cottage

Light gold is the colour, light and bright. Quite intense aromas of exotic fruit, scents of blossom too. A terrific and immediately noticeable balance of fruit and acidity on the palate, crisp and delicious right through to a lip-smacking finish. Very Highly Recommended.

This is 100% Vermentino. A beautifully balanced white with good body, and scents of tropical fruit backed by floral impressions. Delicious with fish and creamy cheeses. Enjoy in summer 8-10 degrees, winter 12 degrees.

Extended heavy rains in Sardinia in 2018 but,  fortunately, despite this and other challenges, the technical staff at Cantina Mesa were able to grow healthy fruit. After clarification and stabilisation, the wine matured for four months in stainless steel tanks on its lees and for a minimum of one month in bottle before release.

Dominio de Punctum "Finca Fabiana" Verdejo 2018 Castilla (VDT), 12%, €12.20
Mary Pawle Wines

Very light straw colour. Pleasant Fruity aromas, light intensity. On the palate it’s a bit more tingly than its Rueda counterpart, fresh and easy-drinking with green fruit (mainly pear/apple) flavours, floral notes too and a lively acidity. Pretty good finish too. Very pleasing as an aperitif and should be fine too with salads and fish.  A simple dry quaffer that should be well received around the table. Very Highly Recommended.

Domino de Punctum wines are organic, biodynamic and vegan-friendly, “following our commitment to the environment and wine lovers around the world.” “We take part of a farming philosophy that is aiming towards the future: we understand how to manage nature to deliver top quality grapes and wines while taking care of the environment, by improving it instead of spoiling it. We aim to achieve this through organic and biodynamic agriculture, making wine that stands out not only for the beauty of its aroma or delicacy on the palate, but for being natural and authentic and free of any chemicals.”

Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Whites Shine in O'Brien's Summer Promotion

Whites Shine in O'Brien's Summer Promotion

There's a whole world of white wine out there aside from the big names such as Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Pinot Grigio. The O'Brien's Summer Promotion, now in full swing (until July 21st), gives you the chance to try something new. I took advantage myself as I sampled a few, including a gorgeous Verdejo from Spain, a fresh and fruity Verdicchio from Italy, a Grüner Veltliner (a long-time favourite of mine) from Austria, and a top notch Chenin Blanc from South Africa. Terrific wines and now at very attractive prices. While I did concentrate on the whites, the reds too are excellent and that Sicilian Appassimento will go down well at most tables.

De Alberto Organic Verdejo Rueda (DO) 13.5%, on offer 12.95 (was 14.95). New at O’Brien’s

The more I drink Spanish whites, like this Verdejo (new to O'Brien's), the more I begin to appreciate them. This organic wine, by De Alberto, is refreshing and quite intense (with citrus to the fore) and is Very Highly Recommended.

Colour is a light straw, clean and bright, with a green tint. Ripe white fruit, herby notes too in the aromas. Superb fruit flavours make their presence felt instantly, a lively citrus-y acidity too, lips a tingle and a persistent and very pleasing finish. Enjoy with poultry, fish and seafood

The 2018 vintage enjoyed good weather conditions, no extremes at all, and this meant the grape stayed healthy and reached an optimum state of maturity.

Verdejo, which may not be familiar to us as Sauvignon Blanc or Chardonnay, is an aromatic grape variety behind the crisp white wines of Rueda, its undisputed home in central Spain. Wine-Searcher says that full-bodied Verdejo wines are held in high regard, displaying herbaceous, nutty characters with balanced acidity and some cellaring potential.

Marotti “Albiano” Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi (DOC) Classico 2018, 13%, €11.95 on offer, was 14.95. O’Brien’s

I’m a big fan of Verdicchio, whether it is from Castelli di Jesi or from Matelica (a bit further inland). Both are in the Marche in the central eastern part of Italy. And this typically refreshingly crisp Albiano is as good an example as you are likely to come across.

It comes in a light straw colour, greenish tinges, lots of micro-bubbles clinging to the sides of the glass. There’s a pleasant aromatic mix of floral and white fruit, moderate rather than intense. Bright and lively palate, citrus led flavours with a barely noticeable herbaceousness, and that typical zesty acidity. 

Unoaked, there is nothing overly complex here, dry, fresh, fruity. Good finish too and this well-made wine is Very Highly Recommended, a good one to start your relationship with this grape if you haven’t already done so!

I enjoyed this as an aperitif but I’ve read that it goes well with Brodetto di Pesce, a rich seafood stew made locally in the Marche. You may not be able to get that here and other recommendations include seared scallops, Linguini with clams, other shellfish, with pasta and rice dishes, and salads, even pecorino cheese. It is suitable for vegetarians and vegans.

Rabl Grüner Veltliner Löss Kamptal (DAC) 2018, 11.5%, €14.95 (was 18.95). O’Brien’s

From peachy attack to citrus finish, this Grüner Veltliner goes the delicious distance. The Grüner Veltliner grape, known for its aromatic fruity wines, gets on very well with the local Löss soil.

Colour is light gold. There is a fresh bouquet of white and yellow fruit, a touch of white pepper. Peach and citrus mingle well in the tingly palate. Mineral notes too plus excellent acidity. All followed by a lip-smacking dry finish. Fresh, crisp and zesty, a refreshing experience and Highly Recommended.

The Rabl Winery in Langenlois has three guiding principles: 1. Only perfect grapes can yield a top wine. 2. Must from perfect grapes allows minimal intervention. 3. No fear of powerful wines! Rabl are well regarded and they recommend pairing this generous and refreshing wine with light starters or as an aperitif. Should go well too with simple fish dishes, fresh shellfish and salads.

This is new to O’Brien’s and worth keeping an eye out for. The fruits are hand-harvested with careful selection, barrel and tank fermented and the wine is further barrel matured for a rounded complexity. Ideal, according to the label, with seafood and shellfish, also with mildly spiced curries and lovely with saffron.

This ia regular award winner over recent years and comes in light gold colour. White fruit and honey notes in moderately intense aromas. A good depth of flavour follows: apricot, melon, plus touch of vanilla. No shortage of acidity either. Quite a mouthfeel too - it has spent some 9 months on lees. It is harmonious all the way through to a very satisfying finalé. Another ace Chenin Blanc from Forrester and this rich and ripe wine is Very Highly Recommended.

Fonte do Ouro Branco DÃO (DOC) 2018, 13%, on offer 13.95, was 16.95. O’Brien’s

Portuguese wines can often be a hard sell because of the unfamiliar names of the grapes but don’t let that put you off. You could be missing out on some real gems such as this white blend of Arinto and Encruzado, ideal with starters, seafood and fish when served at 10 degrees. Like the way Boas Quintas (the producers) sum it up on the label: green colour, apple, pear, and tropical fruit aromas, good structure, fresh and mineral.

Pretty accurate too, I’d have to say. Colour is a light straw with a pronounced green influence. You’ll find peach, apple, pear and more exotic notes too in the aromas. A very pleasant melange of flavours on the palate, mouthfeel also impressive, fresh too with minerality, and acidity enough to balance. Finish is persistent. Highly Recommended.

Fonte do Ouro Tinto DÃO (DOC) 2017, 13%, on offer 13.95, was 16.95. O’Brien’s
And here's another good one from the same stable, a blend of Touriga Nacional, Alfrocheiro and Jaen. This fresh and smooth wine has spent six months in oak and should be served at 16 to 18 degrees and will go well with red meats.

It has a dark ruby colour. Fairly rich aromas of blackcurrant and cherry. I see lots of references to Earl Grey Tea but must admit I didn't pick it up in the nose. There’s a great mix of those fruit flavours on the palate, fresh, with a touch of spice, smooth tannins and a very satisfying finish. Highly Recommended.

All three grapes are popular in the region. The Alfrocheiro adds depth of colour, Touriga Nacional is considered to be the country’s finest, while Jaen is the local name for the what the Spanish call Mencía.

Colpasso Nero D’Avola Appassimento Sicily (DOC) 2018, 14%, on offer at €12.95 (was 15.95). New to O’Brien’s.

Appassimento? You may well ask. If you ask Wine Spectator, they’ll tell you it is the Italian term for drying harvested grapes, traditionally on bamboo racks or straw mats, for a few weeks up to several months, to concentrate the sugars and flavors. 

Appassimento is most associated with northern Italy but there are many examples in the south and this Colpasso is one. Here they make a careful selection of the very best Nero D’Avola grape in the Sicilian area of Agrigento and Vittoria. Some of the grapes are partially dried prior to vinification “giving the wine an incredible intense flavour”. You’ll note that intensity at your very first sip.

Colour is a dark ruby. Those rich red fruit are noticeable in the aromas, immediately. And the flavours are indeed rich and intense, the main feature of the velvety palate, some spice there too, and a hint of sweetness. A good example of appassimento, easy drinking and Highly Recommended.

Check out my post on a few of the O'Brien rosés here

Monday, March 5, 2018

A Trio of Delicious Whites For You!

Vesevo Greco di Tufo (DOCG) 2016, 12%, €21.99 JJ O’Driscoll Cork; Wine Online

Vesevo is an old name for Vesuvius and the vines here are grown on poor volcanic soil. No oak is used in producing this 100% Greco in Tufo, a DOCG right in the middle of Campania, the large administrative region that includes Naples.

This Greco is a light gold in colour and has quite an intense white fruit bouquet, an attractive one. That fruit (peach led), with a crisp minerality, features strongly on the palate, an excellent mouthfeel. Balance is more or less spot-on too and a decent finish as well. Pretty much as good as Greco gets with rich fruit initially and then that sharp minerality. Very Highly Recommended.

Maga Godello Ribeira Sacra (DO) 2016, 13%, €17.80 Karwig Wine

Colour of this white wine, made in Spain from the Godello grape, is a very light yellow. Aromas are rather complex, with floral and fruit notes. The palate is smooth, almost creamy, again that mix of floral and fruit (Grapefruit, melon), good acidity and balance. The finish is lingering and satisfying. Highly Recommended.

Dominio de Punctum Finca Fabian Verdejo Castilla (Vino de la Terra) 2016, 12.5%, €12.20, Mary Pawle Wines

This Verdejo is made  from organically grown grapes, night harvested and cold maceration before fermenting. Colour is straw yellow, bright and clear and there are white fruits in the aromas, floral notes too.

It is fresh and a little livelier than many Verdejos, excellent fruit flavours and balancing acidity. A lovely drop indeed with a long and pleasant finish. Highly Recommended. Good value also, by the way. 

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

A Trio of White Alternatives

A Trio of White Alternatives

Landron La Louvetrie Muscadet Sevre et Maine (AP) 2015, 12%, €15.65 Wines Direct

This fresh tasting Muscadet is a long way from the many cheap ones consumed on half-forgotten Breton holidays. It has been rasied sur lie, is organic, biodynamic (vegan friendly). The grape used by the way is not called Muscadet (as many of us holidaymakers then thought) but the local Melon de Bourgogne. It is light bodied, dry, with medium to high acidity and they recommend using it with mussels, oysters and herb omelette.

You’ll note light gold with tints of green in the glass, yeasty aromas, a tingly mouthfeel with lively citrus fruit; rather elegant - the time on lees has helped. All in all, a pleasurable renewal of acquaintance with a wine I once (maybe more than once) had more than enough of. Highly Recommended.

Great for fish and shellfish they say but why not try it my way - with trout (both tinned and fresh, not at the same time!) from the marvellous Goatsbridge Farm in Kilkenny.

La Fonte Vermentino di Terrabianca Tuscany (IGT) 2015, 12.5%, €16.15 Karwig Wines

This is another fresh and fruity wine, on a par for quality with the Muscadet. Colour is a very light straw and the aromas are on the slight side. After the lightness of the aromas, the palate is a surprise and a very pleasant one at that, a smooth feel and then those fresh and concentrated fruit flavours (grapefruit, lemon), excellent acidity and a long finish as well. Reminds me of a good quality Sauvignon. Highly Recommended.

Casa Maria Verdejo, Castilla Y Leon (VDT) 2014, 12.5%, €10.45 Le Caveau

Steely pale yellow is the producer’s apt description of the colour. Aromas too are rather muted, suggestions of apple. On the palate though, it has much more going for it, fresh and dry and zesty with green fruit flavours and a good finish.

Agricola Castellana is a long standing and important coop and this Recommended wine is very approachable and food friendly. Ideal with a salad of Goatsbridge Farm trout, other fresh fish, shellfish. Try it too as an aperitif with olives. Besides, it will do well too with spicy sauces.

Friday, October 3, 2014

For your Weekend: One White, One Red

For your Weekend: One White, One Red

Vina del Sopie Verdejo DO Rueda 2013, 13.5% abv, €13.95 Karwig Wines

Venture away from the usual white grapes and you'll be richly rewarded. Especially if you try this one which is one hundred per cent Verdejo (pronounced Ver-deko) and all the grapes are from fifty year old vines.

It is yellow in colour with green tones and looks clean and bright. The nose is rather expressive, white fruits combine with floral aromas, for me it was love at first sniff. And the affair intensified when it hit the palate, smooth and round and again those fruits and indeed floral characters, ending in a long and fruity finish.

The Spanish vineyard recommend pairing it with Mediterranean dishes, vegetables, rice and seafood and flavourful fish and I can agree when they say it is exceptional as an aperitif. Quite delicious all round and very highly recommended.

If you’d like to pick up a red while you’re in Karwigs, check out the Caldora Montepulciano and the Caldora Sangiovese. I’ve had these recently and they are two really lovely reds and each is well priced.

Chateau Lezin, Bordeaux Superieur 2011, 13%, €10.00 (down from 19.99), SuperValu.

Merlot (69%) certainly dominates the blend here. Soft and lush on the palate, the fruit flavours and hints of spice are well balanced, tannins are just about noticeable and it all ends with a persistent finalé.

The renovated winery are very happy with this one, describing it as powerful and complex. Not sure I'd go that far but I'd have no hesitation in recommending it as an excellent example of Bordeaux red.

With the French wine sale still on in SuperValu, you might be tempted to get your white here as well and the one I’d recommend is the Michel Lynch Barrel Select Sauvignon blanc 2012 .