Indigo showcased its portfolio of artisanal wines last week at the China Exchange in London. We explored the importer's rich offerings of Spain’s most intriguing yet little-known regions and selected five worthy of your wine list
Penedès is the most notable of Catalonia’s viticultural areas, producing a wide array of styles. However, it’s mostly known for Cava, the world-famous Spanish fizz made here with a range of local grapes such as Macabeo, Parellada and Xarel·lo, often blended with Chardonnay.
The same grapes are used for white table wines. The Gran Caus uses Xarel·lo (50%) and Chardonnay (22%), plus some Chenin Blanc (28%) adding acidic structure to the blend. The grape juice is fermented with indigenous yeast then bottled unoaked and aged for a minimum of two years before release.
The result is a white of great concentration, with deep limey, mineral and smoky notes that would appeal to any Riesling lover. Worth every penny, possibly more.
Priorat might be better known for its gutsy reds, but this jewel from winemaker Dominik Huber shows the region's potential with white labels.
Terra de Cuques is an unusual blend of Pedro Ximénez and Muscat d'Alexandria planted at altitudes of 400-600m. The winemaking process involves the use of whole clusters, indigenous yeast and two weeks of skin contact.
The wine turns out complex, savoury, soft and creamy. It’s punchy on the palate and intense on the nose, with plenty of fruit character, notes of nuts, vanilla and dried meat.
Suertes del Marqués El Chibirique 2016, Tenerife
Suertes del Marqués is located on the volcanic island of Tenerife, just over 100 miles off the Moroccan Atlantic coast.
El Chibirique is a light red made with fruit from Listén Negro vines of over 80 years of age planted on volcanic rock soils. The juice is wild-fermented in open vats, then moved into French barrels of various sizes for about 10 months.
Crunchy red berries lead the nose, with a funky, sulphur-y, smoky underlying character. It's strength is great personality and length. If this doesn’t remind you of a volcano, what does?
Toro Albalá Don PX Gran Reserva 1990, Montilla-Moriles
The region of Montilla-Moriles lies to the north east of the more popular Sherry DO in Spain’s Andalucia. Montilla-Moriles’s wine styles resemble those found in Jerez but don’t benefit from the same renown. As a result, they can often offer extremely good value.
The Don PX Grand Reserva is a fortified Pedro Ximénez-based wine that undergoes a minimum of 25 years of oxidative ageing in American oak barrels.
The result is lusciously sweet, rich, complex, with multiple aromatic layers that range from dried fruits to darker notes such as ground coffee and liquorice, tobacco, and nuts. A meal in itself.
Viña Somoza Neno 2017, Valdeorras
The Valdeorras DO is located in Galicia, Spain’s wet, green country. Neno is a 100% Godello, the leading local white grape, coming from multiple parcels planted on a diverse range of soils. It’s the youngest of Viña Somoza’s wines, hence the name (‘neno’ is the local dialect for ‘child’).
It undergoes a little bit of maceration on the skins, between one and two days for extra flavour, then it’s fermented with indigenous yeast, part in stainless steel and part in French oak. The wine is then kept in contact with its fine lees for seven months in French oak barrels before bottling.
Neno is bright and intense, showing green fruit and white flower aromas complemented by a light herbaceous note. It’s fresh yet rich on the palate, almost unctuous, with lingering garrigue and floral flavours.