We all know and love a Rioja but mention Rioja and most people will associate it with Spanish red wine but have you tried the white version from this iconic region of northern Spain.
The wine known as Rioja Blanco is primarily made from the Viura (aka Macabeo) grape which has to make up at least 51% of the blend. Other grapes used to name a few, are Malvasia, Garnacha Blanca and Tempranillo Blanco but most Rioja Blanco’s will be dominated by Viura and Malvasia.
Usually produced to drink young but age it for a few years and it will take on a completely different taste profile. This particular white Rioja from the Wine Society is the 2015 vintage and has already taken on a more pronounced nuttier caramelised flavour with a surprising hint of something I didn’t expect that I will mention later.
So what’s it like?, well, probably not for everyone, it’s certainly different.
The Navajas Rioja Blanco 2015
The Wine Society around £8.75
This bottle is a Crianza: 12 months ageing with 6 months in French oak casks
Initially smelt slightly oxidised and oaky with a strong almond like nuttiness. On first sip my initial reaction was it tasted a bit like coconut, yes, I know very strange, this was quickly followed by bright acidity but very little fruit coming through, if pushed, perhaps a little apple and pear. There was oak in abundance a touch of peppery spice also some bitter almonds on the finish.
It may not seem like it but I kind of enjoyed it, left in the glass for a while the flavour changed the oak and bitterness subsided a little and as it warmed up became much more approachable. My wife who doesn’t like anything with too much oak didn’t hand me the glass saying she couldn’t drink it and to my surprise enjoyed it as well.
Not the most elegant of Rioja Blanco’s I’ve tasted but it had a rustic charm and paired with our Spanish chicken and rice it was pleasant enough.
***For a pretty decent White Rioja see my post on this ‘Marques De Los Rios’ from Morrisons which was a real beauty