Are these Spanish whites in your cellar?
Top white Rioja can age beautifully. But Spain is home to a surprising – and growing – array of other wine styles that will also reward cellaring. Pedro Ballesteros Torres MW advises on the best wines to lay down…
Two years ago, a number of wine apasionados discreetly came together at Bodega Cigaleña, a prestigious wine restaurant in Santander, to taste old white Rioja wines. We made the trip filled with excitement, but the results went even beyond our expectations: Paternina’s lively, complex Reserva 1920 and firm 1930; balanced Viña Soledad ’59; structured AGE ’46; genuine López de Heredia ’64; fresh CVNE’s Monopole ’71 (in half-bottle!); Murrieta’s unforgettable, perfect, glorious Castillo Ygay 1946 and 1970. And some other amazing, utterly complex and genuine wines.
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A number of Rioja still dry white wines have an extraordinary capacity to improve with age and keep graciously for decades. Only the best growths in Burgundy, Rheingau or the Mosel can aspire to compete with them in this respect. And yet this attribute of white Rioja is not widely known among the general public, and even among wine professionals.
Scroll down for Ballesteros Torres’ pick of great Spanish whites for ageing
The main reason for such oversight is probably the preference in mature wine markets for red wine – but there are several other reasons worth mentioning.