BASICS Spain’s famous grape is called Temperanillo, which creates a wine of low acidity and less of an alcoholic content, and is used to make riojas. The term Crianza is applied to a rioja when it has spent one year in a cask, and is at least three years old. The grape is usually blended with other reds, such as Garnacha Tinta, Graciano, and Mazuelo. White varieties: Godello, Albariño, Treixadura, Verdejo, Malvasía.
PICKS The two whites that impressed me were the 2006 Viña Godeval, from the Valdeorras region, made from the godello grape, which was heavy with a sweet touch of honey, and the 2006 Naia from Rueda, which was nice and crisp, acidic on the tounge, with a hint of almonds and a great smell. It was my first choice for the whites, made from the verdejo grape, which is considered to be the finest for white. Of the reds, the 2006 Valtosca, Syrah from Jumilla made the cut, which tasted like the most appealing cough syrup you could ever have—and I mean that in the most complimentary way—so soothing and sweet. It’s soil is high in minerals. The 2005 Alto Moncayo Veraton made with 100% grenache from Campo de Borja is grown in the high mountains on super old vines—my tasting notes only say “yum”—plus I really love the label, which is a mosaic of all the colors of the soil. See more Lever House Wine Club in the OUT AND ABOUT section.