On A Spanish Train
A Royal History
In the 1860s, 90% of European vineyards were wiped out by phylloxera, an insect that destroyed the roots of grapevines. Cariñena was largely spared and became a destination for winemakers vacating decimated areas. In 1909 King Alfonso XIII of Spain granted Cariñena a city charter for their winegrowers’ role in helping European vineyards recover from the phylloxera blight.
Tale Of The Grapes
My wife is an ABC person – Anything But Chardonnay that is. Disregarding that, I popped open the Paniza Viura Chardonnay blend. Viura, also known as Macabeo, is the most widely grown white grape in northern Spain. In many cases, Viura is very ordinary tasting, light in body and acidic.
However, paired with Chardonnay in this 50-50 blend, it works wonders. The Chardonnay, finished in stainless steel, adds a depth of flavor. The Viura creates a different flavor profile when added to the Chardonnay. There are nice green apple notes and some tropical fruit too. Great for seafood and tapas.
The Corona de Aragon Garnacha Blanca was part of a wine dinner for which we were joined by out of town guests. The summer heat was unbearable, so we tried to keep everything light. To pair with the Garnacha we served a garden fresh Gazpacho topped with Collard Micro-Greens with Bell Pepper Focaccia. Of the four (or was it six?) bottles we served that night, the Garnacha Blanca was the favorite. We had arranged a different white to pair with our Potato & Wild Salmon Cakes with Ginger, Scallions and Dill Sauce – but our guests kept wanting to go back to the Garnacha Blanca until the bottle was dry.
The Garnacha Blanca has 13% Chardonnay and is pale yellow in color. The wine has more body than you may expect from a white wine with flavorings of lime and peach and aromas of white blossoms.
Cariñena is a wine region on the move. We expect to see more and more Cariñena wines on the shelves. The wines we tasted are fresh and invigorating – just the thing for an evening of entertaining or a special meal with friends and family.
Full Disclosure: These wines were received as a marketing sample.