Tuesday, October 28, 2014

A New-To-Me Grape Variety - Viura

Bodega Franco-Espanolas Rioja Photo Credit Bill Rockwell

    One of the things that makes wine such an interesting subject is the vast catalogue of makers, styles, regions, growing conditions and grape varieties to choose from. Sometimes it seems as if you can have a different bottle of wine each day for the rest of your life without repeating. And, of course, you can.
    This week, I discovered a new-to-me grape variety in the guise of the Viura grape, also called Macabeo, which is grown in the Rioja region  of northeastern Spain and constitutes 90% of Rioja's white wine production. Again the maker, Bodega Franco-Espanolas uses 100% Viura grapes to make this meant-to-be-drunk young wine with  a slightly tart finish.
    Noted wine writer Jancis Robinson calls Viura "The Cinderella Grape," saying in 2010 that over the past few years she'd "been increasingly impressed by wines made from a grape that is hardly ever written about."
    Again, I discovered vegetative qualities like rhubarb and green beans  on the nose and fruit like apple, apricot, cantaloupe and lemon on the palate.  The Viura's light body and crisp taste makes it refreshingly apt for the holidays, either as an aperitif or as an accompaniment to fresh fish, oysters, calamari, clams, mussels and lobster. And, of course, turkey.
    More like a Sauvignon Blanc than a Chardonnay, the 2012 Royal has a pale straw color, a light to moderate body and 12% alcohol and is a bargain at $10.

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