Valdemar Rioja Blanco is an interesting little drink that improved my opinion of the style. Like stuffing a whole packet of fruit tingles in your mouth at once it was very sweet tropical fruit, candied citrus and floral with hints of meal and grains. Then there was the light bodied, dry citrus with acid and clean finishing wine with some of the aromatics followed through but it was mainly about the acidic line. But lets not understate how intriguing the nose is. A wine to cut through rich foods while adding aromatic delight. Don’t age it or you will risk the stunning bouquet.
With over one hundred years of experience you are not going to find a better place to start tasting traditional Rioja. They started in the highly regarded and high altitude Rioja Alavesa, then slowly acquired vineyards across the Alta (also high altitude) and lower, hotter Baja region. They make remarkable wines that can age extremely well at the top end. Just lovely.
A large and varied region and Spain’s quality flagship. Sub-regions Alta and Alavesa are the high altitude cooler parts that show elegant and almost Burgundian Tempranillo wines. Baja is the low hot lands sub region where Garnacha (Grenache) becomes more important. Producer is the most important determiner of quality as producers range from traditional savoury wines to modern silky, pure wines. The whites can be neutral and simple through to pretty and silky affairs.
Viura (aka Macabeo)
Used in Northern Spain for table wines and also for making the native sparkling wine: Cava. It is aromatic and dry but can tend to be a bit simple and neutral if not coaxed into great deeds in the winery.