30 Second Wine Advisor: Spanish whites appeal 30 Second Wine Advisor: Spanish whites appeal

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Spanish whites appeal

Bota bag
Just about as long as I've been drinking wine, when I think of Spain I think of red. From the anonymous raw stuff squirted from bota bags at music festivals to the popular Torres Sangre de Toro with the cute little plastic bull on a ribbon around the bottle neck, to our first discovery of serious Spanish reds like Rioja and Ribera del Duero, Spanish wine has been easy, fun ... and red.

In recent years, though, I've moved away from Spanish reds. Or maybe I should say that they've moved away from me.

With its sun-baked vineyards on Europe's southeastern flank, global climate change has hit Spain particularly hard.

Rising summer heat boosts sugars and cuts acidity in ripe grapes, yielding wines with high alcohol but one-dimensional "fruit-bomb" flavors. Some major critics actually praise this kind of "blockbuster" wine, so short-term economic gains may have masked more serious long-range concerns.

Indeed, Carlos Falco, director of Marques de Grinon, a winemaker in the Rioja and Montes de Toledo regions told Bloomberg News that the searing summer of 2003 yielded abundant 90-plus ratings from Wine Spectator for wines from Priorat and Ribera del Duero.

But this can't last. Jose Manuel Moreno, professor of climatology at the University of Castilla La Mancha, told Bloomberg that Spain's average temperature may rise 12 degrees Fahrenheit by the end of the century. "Agriculture will need to change, and there will be winners and losers,'' he said, adding that vineyards currently producing Wine Spectator-style "blockbusters" eventually will be unsustainable, forcing producers to move to higher, cooler regions or, eventually, out of Spain entirely.

In the meantime, when I'm confronted with a red wine from Spain (or, for that matter, California or any other producer of fat, numbingly alcoholic and turbo-fruited reds), I'll occasionally take such drastic measures as chilling the wine and adding a splash of fizzy water to make it palatable with food.

I'm also taking a closer look at Spanish white and rosé (rosado) wines, a category once so minuscule as to be nearly invisible but that is now booming. There's a surprising variety of Spanish whites, many of them made from grape varieties and growing regions little known in the rest of the world but well worth pursuing.

Today's featured wine, for instance, Avancia 2012 "Cuvee de O" Valdeorras Godello, is made from the Godello grape, a white variety that's related to Verdelho, grown on the steep, slatey hillsides of the river Sil in Valdeorras, a wine region of Galicia in Northwestern Spain, on the Atlantic coast near Portugal. Balanced and aromatic, it's fine with food or on its own, a good value in the middle to upper teens. My tasting notes are below.


Wine Focus for June: The wines of Spain

We're focusing on Spain for Wine Focus for June in our online WineLovers Discussion Group,

This will incorporate both red and white wines (and rosado, too) from all regions of Spain, and those who for any reason have a hard time finding Spanish wines may go for the nearest geographic or stylistic neighbors. Pyrenees or Roussillon in France, for instance, or non-Port Douro reds and Portuguese whites bordering on Galicia.

This should be an interesting topic. To be honest, based on the selection of Spanish wines I see in my local market, I tend to think of huge, hot, global-warming and Parkerized bombs when I think of Spain, so I'm eager for an opportunity to reconnect with reality if possible.

You're invited to share your questions and comments about Spain and its wines and contribute your tasting notes through this month in Wine Focus. Just click Wine Focus for June: The wines of Spain! to drop in. You'll be warmly welcome in our friendly wine-loving community.

All forum discussions are open for public viewing, but you must register to post your comments and participate actively in the conversation. Registration is free and easy; we ask only that you join following our Real Names Real Format system, using your real name as your public user name. To join the forum, drop me a note at wine@wineloverspage.com with your real name, preferred format and a temporary password, and I'll take care of the rest.


Today's Sponsor

$1 Shipping Cellar Clearance Sale!

Stock Up for Summer and SAVE!

Be ready with crisp whites for hot days and rich reds for BBQs. Stock up on award-winning, handcrafted wines discounted to as low as $8.99 during The California Wine Club's Cellar Clearance Sale. Plus, you'll enjoy $1 shipping on every case and half case!

The California Wine Club is your supplier of the hard-to-find wines that friends will envy and guests will love. Each delicious bottle they feature has been hand-selected from a dedicated, passionate, small family winery.
Shop now!
Don't wait - The Celebrated Cellar Clearance ends June 13, 2014.

www.cawineclub.com 1-800-777-4443
Sale cannot be combined with any other promotion or discount, nor applied to previously placed orders. Some restrictions apply. Must be 21+ to order.


Today's Tasting Report

Avancia 2012 "Cuvee de O" Valdeorras Godello ($16.99)

Avancia

Clear pale brass color. Aromatic fruit, peach, mango and maybe a hint of pineapple aromas lead into a fresh, tart flavor, citrus and peach, bone-dry and crisply acidic, 13.5% alcohol, with undertones of slatey minerality, with pleasant peach-pit bitterness entering on the long finish. Well balanced and elegant, it's fine value. U.S. importer: Cutting Edge Selections, Mariemont, Ohio, and other regional distributors. (June 5, 2012)

FOOD MATCH: A paella would have been perfect, but I didn't want to try to whip up something that ambitious on a hot summer night after a busy day, so took a similar, simpler Italian approach with risi e bisi Veneziana, a fresh pea risotto in the style of Venice with saffron and a garnish of arugula chiffonade. Alternatively, it has plenty of flavor interest to serve as an aperitif.

WHEN TO DRINK: This strikes me as a wine meant for enjoyment rather than cellaring, although its balance and style suggest that there's no hurry to drink it over the next year or two.

VALUE: With a $15 U.S. average price and a range from $12 to $20 shown on Wine-Searcher.com, it's certainly a fair value in the middle to upper teens.

WEB LINK: You'll find an extensive fact sheet on Avancia Godello at this link on the Web pages of regional importer Giuliana Imports in Denver.

FIND THIS WINE ONLINE:
Find vendors and check prices for Avancia "Cuvee de O" Valdeorras Godello on Wine-Searcher.com.


Talk About Wine Online

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