Cuvinte despre vinuri incercate, degustari si evenimente, calatorii si retete
As a wine geek (blogger, columnist, ertc.), I get to taste many wines, which is really the wonderful thing about this passion. The downside is that sometimes is hard to find one that really grabs your attention. It’s not that I’m only tasting outstanding wines (wishfully), or my taste buds are getting bored with all these „common” wines -no matter how similar, given enough attention, each wine has its own voice.
It’s just that the wider the range of wines tasted, one’s palate becomes more developed, more accustomed to a larger range of flavors and expressions, so it becomes more difficult to find something really surprising. (Which is good for you, my dear readers, since I’m making every effort to bring to your attention surprising wines, interesting wines, lesser-known wines, wines with stories, wines with imagination. This is my humble contribution to the vinosphere :). My recommendations may not always suite your style or preferences, but I can promise that, unless the wine has flaws itself, there is charm and personality in that bottle.)
And a few days ago, a wine that meets the above criteria has been found, tasted and enjoyed. It was such a pleasant surprise to manage to find a wine that not only enlarged my experiences, but also urged me to reset my taste standards.
This wine, in a nutshell: old vines of Verdejo (a native Spanish grape), traditional fermentation on the lees in large oak casks, wonderful complexity and depth, tongue-catching flavors, merry acidity, all for an incredibly low prince .
Nisia 2012 is a personal project by Jorge Ordonez, wine importer and producer, who has been a loud voice of Spanish wines for the past two decades. Starting as a wine agent in Boston, Massachusetts, he can safely be held responsible for building up from scratch the image of Spanish wines in the US. He has also acquired several properties, some in his beloved home region of Malaga in Spain, launching his own wines.
This wine is coming from a truly special piece of land: a small property clinging on a sunny hillside in Rueda, the wine region most famous for white wines in Spain, just nearby the city of Segovia (halfway from Madrid to Rioja). The vines of Verdejo are priceless, the youngest being over 40 years, while the oldest have over a century… This is why „old vines” is proudly displayed on the label. The poor soils, low yields and age of the vines make a superb combination, delivering a wine with a level of flavor concentration seldom experienced …for 9.50 Euro.
Let’s leave aside for a moment the label, depicting a Roman mosaic, and focus on the color and nose: sparkling straw-yellow with greenish hues, and aromas so catching that you might just stay and smell it for a while: jasmine, tuberose, ripe grapefruit, and a hint of pastry.
Then, in the mouth, the true complexity and depth of flavors is bewildering, with honeydew, canteloupe, lemon rind, backed by a subtle hint of puff pastry. The body is consistent without being heavy, and a lively acidity prevents the flavors from becoming too sticky. Even when the temperature goes slightly above the range of 12-16 degrees, it still preserves its freshness and liveliness. The finish is mineral, slightly salted and pungent, with a hint of ginger.
And yet, even with all the above range of aromas, it is a friendly, straightforward wine: chill, open, sip, enjoy. Buy another bottle or two.
I’ve tasted it along a simple plate of oven-roasted trout with lemon, and a carrot risotto. The delicate flesh of the fish is well framed by the fruit flavors of the wine, while the rice adds some texture to match the acidity. It’s doubtless that the wine will improve over the years, but why wait?
Personally, aside from the tasting and drinking pleasure, this wine was also an educational and revealing experience, forcing me to rethink and reset my palate and standards to new levels.