There's just something about Spanish wines these days. Red, white and sparkling, every region and every vintage, you're bound to get something good for less than $20. Whether the wine is from Rioja, Ribera del Duero or anything in between, you really can't go wrong. Just grab and go.
As spring sets in and the weather warms, we tend to reach for Spanish whites made of either the Albariño or Verdejo grapes. The latter is very similar to Sauvignon Blanc (tropical, acidic), while the former is more like Viognier (peachy). But another variety that's making our mouths water these days is Viura. Viura is the main white grape of Spain's Rioja region, but what's cool about this grape is that it serves double duty. It's one of three grapes that go into the Spanish sparkling wine Cava (in which case it goes by the name Macabeo, and is blended with the Parellada and Xarel-lo varieties). But Viura is also made on its own, as a still white. In this form, Viura becomes a beautifully floral and perfumey white wine. It also has bright, lively acidity, making it a perfect white to sip throughout spring and summer.
Viura is often blended with other white varieties to make still wines, but with relative ease you should be able to find a 100% Viura--and it won't cost you more than $10 or $12 (click here to find one). It's one very under-hyped and underappreciated grape that delivers big flavor at a small price.
What's your favorite food to pair with Spanish whites? Tell us below.
Photo Credit: Carolyn Coles