This month, unusually, I’m venturing into the other Iberian country, Spain, but not without good cause!
Telmo Rodriguez El Transistor Blanco 2008 (Rueda)
At the weekend, I met one of Spain’s finest winemakers, Telmo Rodriguez. Though his reputation is for innovation, concerned that the trellis “is destroying his country’s landscape and tradition,” Rodriguez told us he was proud to work exclusively with Spain’s traditional bush vines. And when it comes to his wines, he puts sense of place (“listening to the place”) over what he called “spectacularity” – great word – as OTT as some of the wines I suspect he has in mind! I’d assumed this powerful single vineyard Verdejo’s name was a reference to its aged bush vines transmission of terroir – Rodriguez was impressed by its loose gravel and limestone soil. In fact, it’s a reference to Rodriguez’s inspired solution to leave a radio on to keep wild boar out of the vineyard! At any rate, the site produces a muscular Verdejo. Weighty yet lithe, penetrating and long, it’s no “head and shoulders” upfront Sauvignon Blanc-alike. Try it instead of a weightier Chablis. It costs £17.99 at Adnams.
Descendientes de J. Palacios Pétalos 2008 (Bierzo, Spain)
Another Spanish leading light, Alvaro Palacio, has a hand in this pretty (in form and substance) Bierzo red made from the Mencía variety of which I’m a huge fan, so you’ll not be surprised to hear that it’s been linked to Jaen from the Dão and Cabernet Franc. Equally no surprises then that it makes for an elegant, floral, silky mid-weight wine, with a lovely saturation of black and red fruits, well judged spicy oak and a mineral undertow. £15.99 down to £12.79 on Majestic’s current Spanish deal – 20% off when you buy any 2 still Spanish wines between £5 and £20 – I snapped up 6 bottles!