Four wines this week; all were in the running to feature in an Irish Times article I wrote last Saturday, but for various reasons (price, availability, late arrivals) did not make it to the final four. It was not because they weren’t good enough, so this week four great white wines all from lesser-known regions of Spain.

Ikigall 2022, Gallina de Piel, Penèdes (Organic) Catalunya

Cool, vivid and fresh with racy orange peel, white fruits a touch of fennel and a crisp mineral finish. It improved further as the wine opened up and became warmer.

An unoaked wine made from 85% Xarel.lo, 10% Malvasia de Sitges and 5% Muscat of Alexandria. Gallina de Piel is a winemaking project set up by David Seijas, formerly head sommelier at the famous El Bulli restaurant in Catalunya. Seijas selects parcels of indigenous grapes from various parts of Northern Spain to create wines suited to gastronomy.

From Martins, D3; Barnhill Stores, Dalkey; Clontarf Wines; Matson’s, Grange; McHughs, D5; A Taste of Spain, D2;

Finca Viñoa Treixadura 2021, Ribeiro, Galicia

Herbal aromas with fresh clean zippy green fruits, a nice texture and a good dry finish. Well-made wine and well-priced too. Try it with seafood.

Treixadura is grown in the Ribeiro region of Galicia, inland and on the Portuguese border. In Portugal, where it is known as Trajadura, it is a major component in Vinho Verde. In Spain, the wines tend to be aromatic with good levels of acidity and broad peach, and sometimes, tropical fruits.

Mitchell & Son, Glasthule and Avoca; Clontarf Wines.

Ojo y Coillo 2022, Miguel Castro Naillo, Sierra de Montilla

An utterly delightful, elegant wine with subtle apple and pear fruits, green olives, grilled almonds and bready notes. It has a refreshing acidity and a long bone-dry finish. A delicious not-sherry!

The Ojo y Coillo is fermented in old fino barrels and then aged under a film of flor for a year, before being put into stainless steel tanks. It is the personal project of Miguel Castro Maíll, who returned for college to his grandfather’s 50–80-year-old vines growing at altitude on albariza soils.

Montilla lies some 150 kilometres from sherry country – Jerez – and makes wines that tasted remarkably similar at times. The soils and climate are not dissimilar, and the region produces the full range of flor-affected wines including fino, amontillado and palo cortado. However, unlike sherry, most Montilla is not fortified and is made using the Pedro Ximénez grape instead of Palomino Fino.

From Blackrock Cellar; Morton’s of Galway; Green Man Wine, D6W

Finca Sandoval, Aurora 2022 (Castilla-La Mancha)

Vibrant and fresh with pear and apple fruits and a very attractive note of fennel. It is light, yet not short on flavour, with a nice bite coming through on the finish. I enjoyed it as an aperitif.

Originally set up by well-known Spanish wine writer Victor de la Serna, the wines are now made by highly regarded winemaker Javi Revert. The winery is based in Manchuela, not far from Valencia, and home to Bobal, a red variety that has been receiving a lot of attention recently. Many of the white grapes are grown at altitude and the wines are surprisingly delicate and light.

The wine is made from a blend of local grape varieties, including 60% Marisancho and 10% Albilla de la Mancha, as well as other local varieties. If you haven’t heard of either, don’t worry. I hadn’t either before researching the wine.

From Manning’s Emporium, Bantry; Green Man Wines, D6; The Allotment

Posted in: The Wine on Wednesday, Top Drop

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