We all have expectations on how each country, region and district produces its wines. It comes from your experience, hopefully over many bottles, if not years. I must admit that Spanish white hasn’t really gotten my undivided interest. The modern expressions are clean and correct, but don’t do a great deal further than that. Then the really old-fashioned styles, which can be packed with character are maybe just a bit too funky or faulty.
The Grunter and Gruntess were in town and dinner beckoned. On the list was a 2010 Bodega Bernabeleva ‘Navaherreros’ Blanco. It was deemed an interesting white, and SWMBO and I were not in a position to argue. Looking up the details, this is a blend of Albillo and Macabeo, wines 30-85 y.o. and vinified in 500 and 600 L puncheons, and aged on lees. Yes, really interesting. It could turn out really good or really, really bad. But it was the former. Still relatively fresh with no undue age. Lovely stonefruits with some florals and nuts. Crisp and clean and refreshing enough, and just a little interesting detail, without any funky, grubby or oxidised flavours. This was a New Wold style from the Old World, and delicious. We drunk it with gusto
Soon after, the I Spy Man was here, and it was decided to serve him weird and wonderful instead of conventional, as we usually do. The conventional is pretty high-powered stuff, and doesn’t ever disappoint, so it was with trepidation we opened the 2010 Domaine Belluard ‘Les Alpes’ Savoie. Biodynamic and made from the Gringet variety. What the heck is that? And fermented in a cement egg. Now that’s a recipe for funky, if there ever was one. Sure enough, it poured out golden yellow. And unsurprisingly it smelt oxidised and nutty. But then drinking it, it had an unbelievable blend of freshness, unctuousness and weight. The oxidised flavours were more savoury stonefruity and nutty. OK, I lie a little, as there was oxidation too. But delicious stuff. We had a seafood curry, and it was a match so good that no-one quite believed it. The curry became sweeter, and the wine more stonefruity rather than nutty. Go figure. Old World wine still Old World in character, but totally satisfying.