Decantalo Wine Blog

Andalusian wines

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Andalusia, the southernmost region of Iberian Peninsula, hot, vibrant and full of history. The birthplace of flamenco and some of the best wines in the world for more than 3,000 years.

Producing and growing wine in Andalusia dates back many centuries, reaching an early and well-deserved international prestige in the 16th and 17th century, the root of this incredible rise to fame was their involvement in international maritime trade at the ports such as Sanlúcar de Barrameda. In today’s post, we are going to travel south, and a take a look at a few different zones in this prestigous wine producing region. Will you join us?

fino-feriaVinos finos y claveles. Imagen por Ignacio Palomo (CC BY 2.0)

Despite the over generalisations about the extreme Andalusian heat, one thing is sure, Andalusia is the largest region in Spain with a large variety of different climatic zones. These zones influence in major way the different wines produced in this region.

As a general rule, we can define three large zones and their climatic contours: “La zona” Atlantic, cooler temperatures than the other zones, producing wines from Jerez and Sanlúcar. “la zona” Mediterranean, famous for producing red wines, like those from D.O Sierras de Málaga and finally the wines belonging to the “La zona” Continental, much hotter and drier than the previous two, ideal for the production of fortified dessert wines which are high in natural sugars, D.O Montilla Moriles.

To help you understand a little bit better this three contours, we have prepared three recommendations of Andalusian wine, please don’t miss out:

Tío Pepe en Rama. From Marco de Jerez, produced by the legendary winery, Gonzalez Byass. We recommend Tío Pepe en Rama, un fino en rama, meaning this product is sold without being filtered or cleared. A memory of those long days of old, where the wine was consumed straight from the bottle. This is 100% Palomino Fino originating from the best soils in Jerez. Perfect as an aperitif and as a pairing for any type of tapas.

Payoya Negra 2012. We now travel to Serranía de Ronda, in the heart of the D.O Sierra de Málaga, to present this juicy blend of Tintilla de Rota, Syrah and Cabernet Sauvinon originating from vineyards located at 600 to 900 meters above sea level. Full-bodied, mature and fruity, but the acidity is refreshing with a wonderful wooden touch.

Alvear Px de Añada 2013. Bodegas Alvear occupies a place of merit, as being one of the most respected wineries in the D.O Montilla Moriles. An understandable fact when you know their wines. 100% Pedro Ximénez originates from grapes from the same 2013 vintage, warming, embracing, dense, unctuous and very, very sweet.

What are you waiting for? You are going to love them!

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The perfect partnership between white wines and meat.

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White wine for fish. Red wine for meat“…A lucky mantra that resounds in the heads of many when the time has arrived to chose that ideal wine for your meal. But is this really a fixed rule?

In today’s post, we want to try and break this rule, and we are proposing some ideal pairings bewteen white wine and meat. Would you like to join us? Pay attention, and let’s go!

carne-vino-blancoSuculent salty chicken, accompanied with a few perfect pairings. Original image by Jeffreyw (CC BY 2.0)

Before starting, we need to lower a little bit our expectations, unfortunately not all white wines are capable of forming this partnership with meat. To obtain the desired result, we will only serve full-bodied and structured wines, pretty much everytime, these have to be fermented and aged in oak barrels.

If our wine fulfills these conditions, it will absolutlely be feasible for successful future partnerships, especially if we use white meats, like chicken or pork.

Blending white wine and red meat is all together a lot more complicated, due to the lack of tannins that are present in white wines, although this is not impossible! Try to pair a good steak tartar with a well-oaked fermented Chardonnay or even cecina de Léon (a type of Spanish meat) with a well structured Verdejo. Tell us what you think!

At the end of the day, and in conclusion, it always about trying to find a balance between the weight of the meat and that of the wine, this goes without saying if the wine is red or white.

If you are thinking of pairing white wine and meat, then please take a look at three of our recommendations:

V3 Viñas Viejas Verdejo 2012. From Terna Bodegas in D.O Rueda, arrives this magnificent 100% verdejo, originating from extremely old vines, fermented and aged for 8 months in french oak barrels. A fresh, mature and complex wine. Unctuous and elegant. Ideal to combine with white unspicy meats.

Nelín 2013. We now travel to the DOCa Priorat to bow before this brilliant blend with a Garnacha Blanca base, produced by one of the best wineries in the region: Clos Mogador. Full-flavoured and structured in the mouth, long, intense and very creamy.

Viña Tondonia Reserva Blanco 2001. Genuinely complex. Viña Tondonia Reserva Blano is possibly one of the most well-aged wines on the market. Nothing less than 72 months. The result makes this white wine very unsual. Very gastronomic, complex and intense. Surprising to say the least.

What are you waiting for? You are going to love them!

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5 white organic wines that you can’t miss out on.

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For sure most of our readers would have heard (and probably would agree) that good wine is not made in the winery, but in the vineyard. From this starting place, a new philosophy has been born. Year on year, wineries are producing with more vigour organic wines.

Wines produced with this philosophy of little or no intervention, possess the idea that the grape can express itself on its own, without masks, additives, but faithfully reflecting the terroir from where the grape originates.

mariA ladybug resting on these beautiful Verdejo grapes. © Bodegas Ossian

We have to admit here at Decántalo, we are fervent admirers of this type of wine, this being said, we couldn’t resist suggesting a few white organic wines for you to enjoy this summer.

Five original wines with so much personality, grown without any type of pesticide or industrial fertilizers used during the cultivation process.

Would like to see them? Come and join us:

Quintaluna 2014. Don’t miss out on this 100% Verdejo Segoviano, produced from an interesting blend of old un grafted grapes (60%) and young (40%), both having obtained the organic certificate. A magnificent wine, intense, fresh and complex. Excellent quality, pleasure, price ratio.

Agustí Torelló Mata Xic 2014. We now travel to the D.O Penedés, the origin of some of the best white wines in Spain, this is a pure highlight from the organic grape Xarel-lo produced by the winery Agustí Torello Mata. A pleasant wine, with good weight and passage on the palate, a very attractive price.

Sierra Cantabria Organza 2012. This is a fantastic blend of Viura, Malvasía and Garnacha blanca produced by the Eguren family (Bodegas Sierra Cantabria) under the protection of the DOCa Rioja. A wine of the highest aromatic complexity, aged for 8 months in oak barrels. Unctuous, structured and full-flavoured, but at the same time, agile and fresh. Very good option for greasy fish.

Parvus Chardonnay 2014. We only have to travel 15km outside of the centre of Barcelona, located in the small D.O Alella, to showcase this tasty Chardonnay monovarietal that has been aged for 4 months in oak barrels with peridodic bâtonnages. A very good wine, very fruity and creamy.

Louro 2014. Magnificent blend of Godello and Treixadura produced by Rafael Palacios in the DO Valdeorras. A strong, intense, balanced and subtle wine on the nose, showing to be unctuous, deep, and very, very fruity on the palate. A safe bet year on year.

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Our new wines for the month of July at Decántalo

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A new month and a new opportunity to share with you some of our latest wines that over this last month have increased yet again our already broad selection of wines.

Please don’t miss out on our new selection of our favourite wines. New vintages and new additions, these are now readily available on out website. Don’t miss out!

novedades-julio-1

 

Rioja Vega Tempranillo Blanco 2014. We welcome to Decántalo this second vintage of the white wine, from Bodegas Rioja Vega. The wine is produced from Tempranillo Blanco, a very special grape varietal, it was developped in the 1980’s by a natural mutation of the Tempranillo grape. An intriguing and different wine.

Viña Cubillo 2007. We remain firmly in the DOCa Rioja to present to you this new vintage from Viña Cubillo, from the winery López de Heredia. A classic Riojan wine with a brilliant quality to price ratio. Fine, expressive and ever so persistent.

Fillaboa Albariño 2014. New vintage from this 100% Albariño wine, produced by Bodegas Fillaboa by the riverside of the river Miño, in the D.O Rías Baixas. A fresh and flavoursome wine, intense and complex on the nose.

Manyetes 2011. This is already available on our website, the highly anticipated new 2011 vintage of Manyetes, from the winery Clos Mogador. A stong wine with only the very best credentials: Scoring an impressive 95 Parker points by the Wine Advocate a few days ago.

Herenza Crianza Kosher 2010. We welcome a newbie to our midst, a Riojan wine, produced by Elvie Wines. A fleshy and spicy wine from Rioja, produced by following Kosher principles of wine production. An intruiging and different, suitable for consumption by the Jewish orthodox faith.

novedades-julio-2

Palacios Remondo La Vendimia 2014. The new 2014 vintage for this fresh and easy going wine, produced by Bodegas Palacios Remondo in the Rioja Baja.  An easy to drink wine produced by the famous technical director, Álvaro Palacios, oenolgist of the year 2015 according to the prestigious journal, Decanter.

Termes 2012. we now travel to the D.O Toro to present to you this new vintage of the ‘little’ wine from the Bodegas Numanthia. Little in respects to its youthfulness, but great in quality. There is a party of ripened fruits and spices on the nose. Such power on the palate. A wine to enjoy little by little.

Finca Montico 2014. It’s now time to enjoy this new vintage from one of our favourite Verdejos wines, produced by Bodegas Marqués de Riscal in the  D.O Rueda. Lot’s of intensity and you can really taste the wine’s varietal character.

La Planta 2014. From Toro to now it’s neighbour next door, Ribera del Duero. This new vintage from La Planta 2014, from the Bodegas Arzuaga Navarro. A fresh and fruity wine. Full-bodied and at the same time round. Very good quality-price ratio.

Ximénez-Spínola Exceptional Harvest 2014. We close our top 10 for this month by travelling to Jerez de la Frontera. This new arrival on the market for this new vintage is complex, different and 100% Pedro Ximénez which is well worth a try. A very special and incredbily surpising wine.

What are you waiting for? You are going to love them!

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Parker ratings for Catalan wines – July 2015

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The wine advocate, the publication dedicated to the most influential wines in the world, June’s edition gave us an extensive report entirely focused on Catalan wines.

Luís Gutiérrez, who is in charge of wine tasting, offers us a glimpse into the Catalan wine regions, spread over 3 articles: The first entirely dedicated to the wines from DOCa Priorat, the second destined to the sampling of Catalan sparkling wines, and finally an article summarising the remaining appellations of origin located in Catalonia. 

priorVineyards in  El Lloar, Priorat. Image by Francesc Muñoz (CC BY 2.0)

The outright winner, was hands down DOCa Priorat. Gutiérrez was euforic with the high quality of wines from DOCa Priorat, especially the 2012 and 2013 vintages, awarded an average of 90,61 points out of a grand total of 163 wines. Incredible!

If the DOCa Tarragon can consider themselves to be triumphant at this general level, then Álvaro Palacios can without doubt claim to be one of the main contributors to their success, succesfully receiving 100 Parker points for L’Ermita 2013. A well-deserved acknowledgement for one of the best Spanish wines of all time.

Rated at 99 parker points, and occupying second place in the list of best wines, we find Espectacle 2012. A wine quite simply impressive, the pure essence of the DO Montsant. As its name suggests more so in Spanish, spectacular (espectacular).

Between the wines prized at 98 Parker points, we find a wine that makes us weak at the knees: Clos Mogador 2012, a lively history with the appellation, this has been one of the champions of the area since the renaissance of Priorat from the early 90’s.

With 97 Parker points, we can’t leave out Nit de Nit 2012, from the winery Ester Nin. An elegant and volumptuos blend of Garnacha and Cariñena from a very limited production, available only in Magum edition.

The wines rated at 96 parker points, we have to showcase another jewel from Priorat: Mas Alta la Creu Alta 2012. An authentic terroir wine. A subtle and complex mix between concentration, depth and finesse.

With 95 Parker points, we highlight a very special cava: Recaredo Turó d’en Mota 2003. A regional cava, produced from old vines from the varietal Xarel-lo originating from one single estate. Subtleness, expressivity and elegance. Very special.

From the range of wines with 94 parker points, we want to show you: Clos Martinet 2011, an example of minerality, a regional characteristic, originating from one of the most emblamatic and historical wineries in the region. Dido “La Universal” 2013, an ecological wine produced by Sara Pérez and René Barbier which we have fallen in love with for its expressiveness, youthfulness and its enviable quality to price ratio.

One more step further down the ladder, these Catalan wines awarded 93 Parker points, we want to highlight two more of our weaknesses, purely by chance that they are produced by the same oenologist: Raúl Bobet. On one hand, Ferrer Bobet Vinyes Velles 2012, a perfect blend of minerality, strength and freshness, a faithful reflection of the new Priorat. On the other side, Thalarn 2013, Syrah from the heights, produced in Lérida in the Pyrenees at an altitude of 850 meters. Complex, fresh and flavoursome. A Joy.

Finally, we don’t want to miss out on the opportunity to highlight some Catalan wines rated by Parker with the best quality to price ratio. In this section, here are some very interesting wines, like the Llebre 2013, from Tomás Cusiné, with 90 points. Ritme 2013, from Celler Ritmey also scoring 90 points and finally, L’equilibrista 2012 from the winery Ca N’ Estruc, with 91 Parker Points.

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Characteristics of the varietal Pedro Ximénez.

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We are following on from our recent review of white grapes from Spain. After having highlighted the characteristics of Verdejo, Viura and the Galician varieties Albariño and Godello, we now travel to the south of the peninsula to focus our attention on the varietal Pedro Ximénez.

A grape varietal that is like no others sweet Spanish wine, offering us some of the best dessert wines in the world. Would you like to find out more about PX? let’s go!

vinedo-jerezEstate and vineyards in DO Jerez.  Image by Ignacio Palomo (CC BY 2.0)

The varietal Pedro Ximénez is located mainly in Andalucía, more exactly in the appellations of origin jerez, Montilla-Moriles and Málaga.

The most important characteristic of the PX, more so than its fine skin, juicy pulp and medium size grape, is its sugar levels, a property that converts this varietal into an ideal candidate for the production of rasins and naturally sweet wines, this means, no additional sugars are added.

To produce the typical characeristics of Pedro Ximénez wines, the grapes are picked and transported to the ‘paseras’ (placed on the ground in a field) where they will be dried out by the sun. This is however, a very time consuming process, where every 2 to 3 days the grapes are turned over, to insure that each grape dries evenly.

Once the grapes arrive at the winepress, the must is extracted and given a partial fermentation to conserve the natural sugars. This is competed leading the wine to the desired level by the winery.

Would you like to know of some good wines produced from the grape Pedro Ximénez? Here are our recommendations

Alvear Pedro Ximénez 1927 Since the D.O Montilla Moriles produces Alvear 1927, made from raisined grapes that are 100% Pedro Ximénez and aged for 5 years by the Spanish technique: criaderas y soleras. A juicy, strong and enveloping sweet wine with a great quality to price ratio, unbeatable. 96 Parker points for only 10,75€!

Don PX 2012 we are staying in the same place to highlight another great sweet wine from this region. Don PX 2012 is a dessert in its self, although aswell as functionning as an ideal partnership for blue cheeses. High recommended.

Ximénez-Spínola Exceptional Harvest 2014 Who said that the varietal PX only offers sweet wines, they obviously never tried this wine! Ximénez Spínola Exceptional Harvest originates from a fermentation of the PX grapes with its own husks, aged for 4 months in oak barrels with constant battonages. A different wine, full of so many tones. Fresh and warming at the same times. Juicy, deep… A MUST!

These are only three recommendations, but there are so many more options! What is your favourite PX wine?

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Ageing wine in the bottle.

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The ageing  and maturing process of wine is a long, calm and delicate stage, of which the final objective is to give wine, tones, aromas and distinct characters that we find in the younger wines.

This process involves a two stage process: An oxidation phase and a reductive phase. Precisely this second phase, often ignored by consumers, is what we would like to explore in today’s article. Prepare yourself, we are going to show you the goodness and depth of character it brings by process of ageing and stacking the wine. Let’s go!

 

rimaMaturing of sparkling wines. Image by Joopey (CC BY 2.0)

The reductive ageing phase gives birth to the precise moment in which the wine, recently removed from the barrel is bottled and corked. These bottles are transferred to the cellar, where they will remain stacked in a horizontal position (the wine must always been in contact with the cork, this is to facilitate the micro-oxygenation process).

During this time, the wine’s elements are reacting, modifying its chemical structure, rounding its self out, and refining it’s character until reaching the optimum moment of consummation.

Whilst the wine is maturing in the bottle, aromas are being softened and integrated. The wine loses the rough, fresher aromas and becomes smooth and round.

The proof is that these wines matured in the bottle and that are truly great wines, can last for many years if preserved correctly.

Would you like to know some great wines that have been matured in this manner? Here are our list of wines.

Protos Reserva 2010. One the most recognised wines at national and international level, from the D.O Ribera del Duero. Protos Reserva remains for at least 18 months in America and French barrels and subsequently, rests in the bottle for 24 months. A silky, fleshy, subtly and enveloping wine. You will love it.

Tilenus Crianza 2008. A 100% Mencía produced by the D.O Bierzo head up by oenolgist, Raúl Pérez. This wine is aged for 12-14 months in oak barrels and rests in the bottle for a long period of time, up until its sale. An elegant, tasty and very well balanced balance.

Muga Prado Enea 2006. A minimum of 36 months in barrels plus another 36 additional months of reductive maturing makes this wine a perfect example of what a Gran Reserva de la Rioja should taste like. Classy and character combined in one wine glass. A pure joy.

What are you waiting for to discover these wines? You will love them!

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What is a Mediterranean wine?

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In such a passionate, wide, and often subjective world of wine, few categorizations exist to describe a consensus that is in as much, is so wide and varied when we refer to the division between the characteristics of Mediterranean and Atlantic wines.

In some way, most fans and professionals alike seem to agree on the attributes given to each type of wine. In today’s post, we would like to look at one of these factors: Mediterranean wine. Will you join us?

murciaPanoramic view of the vineyards in Murcia. Image by Ward Kardel (CC BY-ND 2.0)

Despite the apparent evidence, when we refer to Mediterranean wine, we are not necesarily refering to wines produced from coastal regions by the Mediterranean sea, but a generic type of wine, that is influenced by a series of climatic characteristics.

In general, a feature of Mediterranean wine would refer to wines being produced in warm and sunny countries, with annual rainfalls not exceeding 400 litres, this results in more intense, ripened (often almost compote like), structured wines with a good alcohol level.

This is why in more warmer and drier climates, we can enjoy more ripened and concentrated fruit. More cooler and wetter climates, on the other hand, offer fruit that is more acidic, fresh and lighter.

As a result of the higher concentration levels of the sugars, the yeast will convert this into higher level of alcohol (Wines starting at 13,5%, we can begin to talk about wines of this character), these wines will present themselves to be much more sweeter on the palate.

Would you like to discover some interesting Mediterranean character wines?

Here are our 3 recommendations:

Embruix de Vall-Llach 2013. Arriving from the town of Porrera, in the DOQa Priorat, this is a warm and intense blend of Spanish and internation varieties. On the nose, it is concentrated and powerful. On the palate, juicy, direct and fleshly.

Las Gravas 2011. One of the best monovarietals from the varietal Monastrell, that is currently produced in DO Jumilla. Las Gravas surprises everyone by its fine balance between ripened black fruit and a balsamic freshness. An elegant full bodied wine.

Finca Espolla 2010. We travel to the shores of the Costa Brava to meet up with the blend of Monastrell and Syrah, originating from slate soils and aged for 15 months in the dark, from the winery of Castillo de Perelada. A very good wine, very juicy and warming.

 

What are you waiting for? You are going to love them!

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5 flowery white wines not to miss out on.

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Orange blossom, honeysuckle, acacia, jasmine, magnolia…We all know these aromas, but could you find them in a glass of wine? Fragrant, seductive and summery aromas, these are a few aromas that we enjoy in our wines.

In today’s post we invite you to discover five flowery white wines that we are sure you are going to love. Would you like to see what they are?

vinoVino blanco y arcoiris. Imagen por Michael Porter (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

When we talk about floral aromas in white wines, inevitably we find ourselves in the territory of white and yellow flowers.

These aromas can be expressed in our glass through two different means: on one side, certain varieties of grape are very flowery (for example, Chardonnay often releases aromas of thorns and orange blossom), furthermore, these aromas can be released during the winemaking process, and this is thanks to the reaction with the yeast.

What would you think if we were to dive a little bit deeper whilst filling our glasses with some excellent (and flowery) white wines? Here are our recommendations:

Barbazul Blanco 2014. Orange blossom, white stone fruit and possessing a very good balance between warmth and freshness, produced by the winery Huerta de Albalá. A very interesting wine form Cádiz.

Gramona Gessamí 2014. This is a statement of intent, even from the off, the label gessamí means jasmine in Catalan. A blend of Musctat de Alejandria, Sauvignon Blanc and Muscat de Frontignon, seductive, mellow, subtle and ever so enveloping.

Mestizaje Blanco 2014. A very special white wine, created by a very special winery (Mustiguillo possesses the exclusive certificate of Vino de Pago). A rich and full bodied wine.

Vallegarcía Viognier 2012. This is without doubt, one of the best 100% Viogner (if not the best), that is produced in Spain. An enveloping, mature, complex and persistent wine.

Inspiración de Valdemar 2013. We close today’s round of recommendations, demonstrating our devotion for this wine, produced 100% from the varietal Tempranillo Blanco. A grape that is practically extinct (a mutation of Tempranillo Tinto), but little by little, we have the pleasure of discovering this great wine once again. Don’t miss out!

These are only some recommendations, don’t forget that there are so many other options. What is your favourite white wine?

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Characteristics of the grape Viura: One the best white Spanish varieties.

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Viura, Macabeo, Alcañol, Blanca de Daroca, Forcalla, Gredelín, Perpignan…different names for the same varietal. A varietal that has become one of the most respected, having one of the best potentials in Spain, and the undisputed star performer for Catalan and La Rioja vineyards.

In today’s post, we would like to examine in depth all the goodness and characteristics of Viurra (the name given to the grape in La Rioja), or Macabeo (in Catalanya). Will you join in with us?

viuraBunches of the grape Macabeo in the Penedés. Image by Shoes on Wires (CC BY 2.0)

 

The origins of this varietal, although are not very clear, seem to be found in the river Ebro, in Cuenca. This city, famous for being a world heritage site in central Spain.

Viurra or Macabeo, offer wines with a notable acidity level. These wines are extraordinarily fresh when young, and very apt for being either aged in the bottel as well as the barrel.

It is precisely this fantastic capacity for being aged that has converted Viurra into essential status in La Rioja, where it is now, the home of the largest ageing of wine in barrels, similar to Catalunya, Macabeo brings structure to the cava, which is acheived through the ageing process over many years, without losing any of its freshness.

Would you like to discover some good monovarietals from the grape Viurra? Here are some suggestions.

Finca la Emperatriz Viura 2014.  A young wine, originating from the parcels 2, 3 and 6 of the Finca la Emperatriz in Rioja. On the palate, potent, fresh, overwhelming. A very good option at a price available for everbody.

Viñas de Gaín Blanco 2009. All the aromatic subtleness of the Viurra concentrated in a great white wine to be stored. Viñas de Gaín Blanco is 100% Viurra that is fermented for 5 weeks in oak barrel, passing to 24 months of ageing in a steel container. A complex, pleasant and persistent wine.

Finca Racons 2013. Now we head off to Catalunya, to be exact, the appellation of origin Costers del Segre, to highlight this fantastic 100% Macabeo produced under the direction of a great wine maker, Tomás Cuisiné. This wine has a very limted production that you should not miss out on.

These are only a few suggestions, however, there still are so many other options! What is your favourite Viurra/ Macabeao wine?

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