Drinks: Wines
Location: Europe, Spain

Rest of Spain: White/Rose
A somewhat muted performance after the high medal count of last year, with the much-vaunted Galicia, in particular, something of a disappointment in 2011

Spanish whites tend to inhabit the ‘fresh and cheap’ end of the wine list and, on this evidence, that’s where they belong. Our tasters were generally lukewarm to most of what they found and saw value for money rather than absolute quality as the main driver.

‘For the price, I think there are one or two very good-value, easy-drinking wines here. They would be good with a few tapas but nothing too complicated,’ said Xavier Chapelou.

In the past, this has been a more dynamic category but its generally underwhelming performance this year was largely down to the feeble performance by Spain’s best-known white region, Galicia, and its best-known quality white grape, Albariño.

This is a style that has grown massively in popularity over the last decade and, sadly, it shows. Wines little better than First Division were charging Premiership prices.

‘There were a couple that I would be happy to put on my wine list but not at this price,’ lamented Gergely Szabo. ‘They were pleasant, but not that pleasant.’

While Galicia picked up four medals last year, it managed only one Bronze this year. Fortunately, Rueda – arguably the country’s only other well-known white DO – fared far better, providing two good Golds. The Marqués de la Concordia Verdejo was singled out by Sara Bachiorri for the way it combined value and quality with complexity and fresh aromatics. ‘This would be a good entry-level wine, either as an aperitif or with simple seafood and starters,’ she said. Laurent Chaniac, meanwhile, was a fan of the Naiades. ‘On the list at £50–60, it would be a hand-sell,’ he admitted, ‘but it’s a very good-quality wine.’

While there was little in this category that was actively bad, there were few wines that were terribly exciting either bar the two Golds, And many of the attempts at more ambitious creations fell flat, usually because of a rather heavy-handed use of oak. Although, it could be worth exploring the Godellos of the North-West.

Meanwhile, the few rosés sent in were a disaster. After sardonically surveying one offering the colour of dental mouthwash, Team Leader Sarah Jane Evans MW commented, with far more acidity than was present in any of the wines, ‘if one of these guys chose to put this on his list, he would lose his job on the spot for that alone.’

“The acidity was missing from the Albariños – it was disappointing. And they were quite expensive. ” Alvaro Marcos Garcia, Home House


Marques de la Concordia Vega de la Reina Verdejo 2009, Rueda, Spain
£5.99 @ United Wineries
SWA 2011 Gold List Ripe citrus with light tropical fruit flavours and nettles on a complex nose lead through to a similar palate. Sara Bachiorri spotted the Verdejo character in the grassy notes which pervade this good-value wine. Fresh, zesty and oily on the palate, with a fine, bitter finish. ‘Easy drinking,’ said Sarah Jane Evans MW.

Naiades 2007, Rueda, Spain
£14.09 @ Boutinot
SWA 2011 Gold List One that needs time in the glass to open up, this has delightful brioche notes overlaid on a complex citrus and white-fruited nose and palate. Long with good minerality and a fresh finish. ‘Superb lemon flavours,’ said James Hocking. ‘Harmonious and rich,’ said Xavier Chapelou.


Mariona Blanco 2009, Alicante, Spain
£5.92 @ Enotria
Highly aromatic, with rose petals, peach and white blossoms on the nose, the palate doesn’t quite deliver to the same extent, but Alvaro Marcos Garcia of Home House still regarded it as ‘easy drinking and good value’. ‘Good finish of spicy white pepper,’ added Laurent Chaniac.

Montenovo Godello 2009, Valdeorras, Spain
£9.50 @ Berkmann Wine Cellars
With camomile blossom, jasmine, clementine and peach on the nose alongside honey and mineral hints, there’s good structure, fine minerality and good balance on the palate. ‘There’s a fresh, clean finish here,’ said Sara Bachiorri. ‘Quirky but good.’


Pazo de Monterrey Godello 2009, Monterrei, Galicia, Spain
£7.44 @ Boutinot
Fresh and light with stone fruit and white blossom. Slightly warm alcohol on the palate but a good peach finish.

Tomas Cusine Auzells 2010, Costers del Segre, Spain
£10.06 @ Bibendum
Creamy floral nose, this shows complex minerals with freshness, ripe fruit and a long finish.

Granbazan Ambar Albarino 2009, Rias Baixas, Galicia, Spain
£10.49 @ Amathus Drinks
Well balanced with plenty of citrus and white stone fruit flavours, this has an intense fragrant nose, with peach, melon and good minerality.

Cervoles Blanc 2009, Costers del Segre, Spain
£13.59 @ Boutinot
Musky, opulent aromas, this has creamy citrus and white fruit, good minerality and a long finish.

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Since its launch in March 2007, Imbibe magazine has established itself as the UK’s leading publication for on-trade drinks professionals. Imbibe’s editorial coverage takes in all the main drinks categories, from wine to water, spirits to soft drinks.

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