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Quality on the rise: Spain’s top white wines

‘Spain is undergoing a quiet revolution in its vine-growing and winemaking practices’ says Pedro Ballesteros Torres MW, and it is arguably Spanish white wines that have benefited most from this.

From classic regions to new places, and even new grape varieties, results from the Decanter World Wine Awards 2020 are indicative of this quiet quality revolution, with Spain receiving more awards for its white wines than any other year.


Co-Chair Sarah Jane Evans MW on judging Spanish wines at DWWA 2020

For me, Spain is the most exciting country in the world, so I come as a convert, but I think I could persuade  anyone. We’ve seen a real diversity of grapes. You think of Rioja when you think of Spain, or Ribera del Duero, but we’re seeing brilliant wines from very different grape varieties,  different producers – small producers rediscovering what their grandfathers had in their vineyards – and that excitement is absolutely coming through on the table. All over Spain, each flight has brought something super-great… it’s been a great voyage.


Rigorously tasted and rated at the competition last August, explore the dry white wines from across the country that scored highest…

Galicia 

Paco & Lola, Albariño, Rías Baixas 2019

97 points, Platinum
£12-£14 Sainsbury’s, Tesco
Scintillating. Stone-fresh, crunchy, vivid and pungent: everything you want on the palate, and more. An outstanding effort with beguiling and satisfying lime oil, pith and pounded rock to finish. Alcohol 12.5% 

Pazo Señorans, Selección de Añada Albariño, Rías Baixas 2011

97 points, Platinum
£46.17 (ib)-£59.99 Alliance Wine, Cellar Door Wines, Cheers, Cru, Drink Finder,  Hedonism, Museum Wines, Talking Wines, The Vinorium
Really expressive tropical fruit nose. Great mouthfeel with notes of pineapple, mango, lemon sherbet and a savoury, saline overlay. Exceptional intensity and length. Fabulous example of the ageing potential of the variety.  Won’t fall over any time soon. Alc 13.5% 

Chan de Rosas, Cuvée Especial Albariño, Rías Baixas 2019

96 points, Gold
N/A UK www.premiumfincas.com
A thoroughly appealing bouquet with honey, peach, apricot and spice all  contributing in harmony. Palate is crisp and creamy with notes of vanilla, lime and greengage. Overall length and balance can’t be faulted. Alc 13.5% 

Notas Frutales de Albariño, La Trucha Albariño Barrica, Rías Baixas 2016

96 points, Gold
N/A UK www.notasfrutales.com
Resplendent aromas of biscuit, caramel and butterscotch. The palate is creamy and broad with well-integrated smoky oak and lively acidity. Long, layered finish. Lots more to come, too. Very classy. Alc 13.5% 

Familia Torres, Pazo das Bruxas, Rías Baixas 2019

95 points, Gold
£11.95-£14.70 Blanco & Gomez, Fareham  Wine Cellar, TB Watson, Vinvm
This is intense, with exceptionally  concentrated fruit, mouthwatering acidity and a fine texture to the palate. Then there is the mineral finish that goes on and on. Could not be more different from the everyday Albariños. Alc 12.5%

Francisco García Pérez, Adega do Moucho Treixadura, Ribeiro 2017

95 points, Gold
N/A UK adegadomoucho@gmail.com
Complex orchard/stone fruit and citrus  aromas. The palate has sappy acidity and  honeyed fruit overlaid by refined, delicate oak, floral and vanilla notes. Memorable wine with a very long finish. Bravo! Alc 13.6% 

Pazo Señorans, Tras Los Muros  Albariño, Rías Baixas 2017

95 points, Gold
£54.99-£60 Alliance Wine, The Fine Wine  Co, The Vineyard Belfast
Earthy and caramel nose with hints of toasty new oak. Palate is lively and crisp with beautiful notes of vanilla, oak, mango and apricot. Long, compelling, nutty finish. Good ageing potential here. Lovely wine. Alc 13%

Ramón do Casar, Ribeiro 2019

95 points, Gold
N/A UK www.ramondocasar.es
Gold-plated class from the off, with siren-like aromas of citrus, white flowers and tropical fruits. Long and creamy, spice notes. Dances out through a long finish. Lovely! Alc 12.5% 

Rioja

Marqués de Tomares, Gran Reserva  2010

97 points, Platinum
N/A UK www.marquesdetomares.com
This is a seriously good wine, full of energy, with great line and length to its peach, apple and oak vanilla flavours, the balance also impeccable. The more you sit with it, the more reasonable the price seems. Alc 13% 

Nivarius, Edición Limitada 2016

97 points, Platinum
£13.95-£15 Experience Wine, The Northern Wine & Beer Co
Ripe tropical fruit, pear and peach nose with  a hint of smoke. Palate is broad, rich and full-flavoured with crisp supporting acidity and a lovely mineral texture. Very long and impressive finish. Wonderful! Alc 13.5%

Alvarez Alfaro, Garnacha Blanca 2019

93 points, Silver
N/A UK www.bodegasalvarezalfaro.com
This is a very big, youthful wine, with a crisp, lively mid-palate and tempting butterscotch notes. Will develop lovely  complexity. Alc 12.5% 

Castilla y Leon

Castelo de Medina, Fermentado en  Barrica Verdejo, Rueda 2018

96 points, Gold
£17 The Northern Wine & Beer Co
Very aromatic and tropical on the nose, showing pineapple, passionfruit, green mango and crème brûlée notes, alongside pleasant sweet spice from oak ageing. Fresh and juicy core, structured and balanced. Alc 13.5% 

Bodega Hermanos del Villar, Oro  de Castilla Verdejo, Rueda 2019

94 points, Silver
N/A UK www.orodecastilla.com
Lovely Verdejo aromas of nettles, lemon curd and fresh herbs. Bright, full-bodied and fleshy with pineapple, a squeeze of lime, banana and mango. Crisp and refreshing. Alc 13.2% 

Doña Beatriz, Verdejo, Rueda 2019

94 points, Silver
N/A UK www.bodegascerrosol.com
Green, lean, herbaceous style, with some  tomato leaf notes, a crisp and attractive,  ripe citrus character and a tingling finish.  A cut above the rest. Alc 13%

Catalonia

Altavins, Selecció, Terra Alta 2015

96 points, Gold
N/A UK www.altavins.com
Grapefruit and sweet vanilla aromas. Rich, fat and textured in the mouth, with bright, balanced acidity and a lingering, delightful finish. A great wine for those who like big, toasty, oaked whites. Alc 14%

Ca N’Estella, Gran Clot dels Oms  Chardonnay, Penedès 2017

95 points, Gold
N/A UK www.fincacanestella.com
Complex citrus fruit, nectarine, white blossom and sweet spice aromatics. Fresh and zesty palate with grapefruit pith and well-integrated, creamy oak. Stunning and refined wine that makes one pine for another glass. Will age well. Alc 13% 

Eccociwine, Can Noves Blanc 2018

93 points, Silver
N/A UK www.eccocivi.com
Apples and pears on the nose, then the palate is silky and mouthwateringly fresh. A wine that has very interesting smoky characters, along with greengages, juicy lemons and grapefruit, and an appealing pithiness. Alc 14% 

Aragon

Viñas del Vero, La Miranda de Secastilla Garnacha Blanca, Somontano 2018

93 points, Silver
£12.50-£13.99 Amps, Martinez Wines, Songbird Wines, The Oxford Wine Co, Thorne Wines
Lovely and varietally precise! Pure, singing freshness, floral notes, lemon curd, bitter lemons and fresh herbs. Honeyed, with a long finish. Alc 13.5% 

Basque Country

Astobiza, Malkoa Single Vineyard Ondarrabi Zuri, Txakolí de Alava 2016

93 points, Silver
POA Ehrmanns
Brilliantly vivid, multilayered and complex, with thrilling acidity and notes of jasmine, roasted almond and honey. Waxy and saline finish, very long. Alc 12.5% 

Andalucia

Barbadillo, As de Mirabrás, Cádiz  2019

92 points, Silver
£16.99 Les Caves de Pyrene, RS Wines, The Solent Cellar
Smoky toasty aromas. Full of flavour and enlivened with bright acidity. Chalky texture with stony freshness, and then a  flood of fruit coming behind. Intense, salty and long. Alc 14% 


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