Been into the Rioja recently. I had the pleasure of a Viña Tondonia Blanco '99 Reserva a few weeks back and I wanted to see if I could get in the ball park for less money.
Of course that's insane. The Tondonia was absolutely terrific. Huge length and complexity and so much more interesting to wine geeks than even the most refined Chardonnay or Sauvignon Blanc. Thursday night wines, though, are made of different stuff.
I picked up this bottle for ¥1800 at my local Yamaya. It's a 100% Viura wine aged in 225 litre new French oak barrels. I liked the fonts on the label, too. Let's see what it has to offer.
Opened and poured, this has an even colour reminiscent of a ripe English pear without much of a sparkle. A decent glassful has a colour that's becomes denser at the core. The nose has "that Viura thing" going on. Somewhere between "something that died in the forest" and, the altogether more prosaic, banana. As it warmed in the glass hints of sour lime emerged and everything intensified a little. Don't be put off by the hint of death on the nose. It's interestingly macabre rather than horrifyingly off-putting.
The flavours are strange here. Nothing leaps out but there's a very nice balance of citrus, hazelnut and cocktail bitters. The more the oxygen got to it, the more lime juice came out. Nice. Odd combination, but it works well. Once again, I think that in a world of Chardonnay drinkers who might occasionally have a drop of Sauvignon Blanc, this provides comparable quality, but a ton more interest at the price point.
Stick this with some prawns There's something about the flavour profile of this wine that's convinced me it'll suit the earthy seafood stylings of our sea-bug friends. That and hard cheese. I'm getting hungry again...
If you weren't particularly interested in wine, but just turned up at a party in need of a drink, I doubt this would work for you. It's far too geeky and singular to please a crowd of any reasonable size. If, however, you're sick of same old choices and enjoy drinking with your brain switched on, this may well be up your street.