Four years ago I went to Spain on a trip with a Cava producer and the most surprising wine I drank (during a day away from sparkling) was a Grenache Blanc (Garnacha Blanca) from Priorat. The later is a region in Spain a couple hours west of Barcelona but it feels like a world away. Steep slopes, super gnarly vines, and soil that’s a jagged razor’s edge of slate.
You can see some evocative photos (that I did not take) here.
It was great. The white wine had wonderful richness without being too heavy. It walked the tightrope! (It’s also worth seeking out Grenache Blanc from Washington, California, and in blends from southern France.)
On a recent episode of the Wine Enthusiast Podcast, hosted by yours truly, I was excited to hear that, in Priorat, Grenache Blanc wasn’t a fluke. Though the vast majority of wines in the region are rich, concentrated reds, our Spanish wine reviewer, Michael Schachner, has some eye-opening comments about the tiny trickle of white wines. Plus a history lesson on Priorat.
Then I chat with with Patrick Mata, co-founder of Olé Imports. We touch on how to start a wine import company when you aren’t old enough to drink. And I learn the surprising history of white wine in Rioja. Plus a few regions to watch out for, notable white wines, and some talk about how the world of rosé wine (rosado) in Spain has grown since everyone is thinking (and drinking) pink.
Have a listen:
Photo by Angela Llop via flickr.
It’s definitely come a long ways from its days of heavy brute-shouldered bottles that could often oxidize and starting the difficult 2014 vintage, the whites in Priorat have really gotten quite refined.
I would however recommend checking out White Grenache from Terra Alta as they’ve nailed a style down there exceedingly well.
Thank you for chiming in. Seems like the reds and whites are headed along a less brute trajectory, at least among some producers. Will check out Grenache Blanc from Terra Alta, appreciate the tip.