Price Range: $11–12
- Ready to Drink: Immediately upon release
Region: Rioja, Spain
A very distinctive and fun white wine, with a ton of Spanish character, that’s truly a bargain.
From maybe the greatest region in the world for highest-quality-to-low-price wines—La Rioja—all that’s required is an adventurous palate and a willingness to try something you may not have heard of. As a prime example, this 2016 Blanco Rioja from BODEGAS PUELLES is made from the Viura grape, the most widely planted grape variety in Rioja. Tastewise, and in texture and in weight, there’s similarities to a Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Grigio. Our tendencies are to reach for what is familiar, but let that only be a launching pad for discovering the different and exotic.
There is, in fact, an exotic nose to this white Rioja—very crisp notes of Peruvian lime and warm notes of citrus and tropical mango. The wine’s bright minerality and mouthwatering acidity takes you to another place—you are stepping into delightful, foreign territory—and then the mid-palate detects the sweetness of tropical fruit, and notes of pear and green papaya. There’s surprising length and power on the finish, uncommon for such crisp and light wines. The whole thing is so exceedingly well-balanced.
Tip: don’t serve this too cold, otherwise you’ll nullify its characteristics. And great to pair with spicy food, although also great to have just as a sipper. It’s a wine that exudes strength and fortitude with a certain exuberance. A joy! –J.M.
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