Monday, 7 February 2011
Further Confessions of a Bin-End Browser - Actino Airén VDLT, 2008, Bodegas Juan Ramirez
When it's an out-of-date, non-descript Airén - unofficially the world's most widely planted and dullest white grape - from "somewhere" in Spain (VDLT, Vino de la Tierra, is lowly, generic "country wine"), one's expectations are further lowered.
On opening, it has an earthy, yeasty toastiness on the nose and a pleasant lemoniness on the palate. Also on the plus side are that it's balanced and restrained. It pretty much goes without saying that there's not much in the way of complexity - texture and finish are pretty minimal too.
So, what there is here is enjoyable enough - there's nothing bad; it's just that there isn't much at all. I've had worse - usually at works' Christmas parties - but after a few mouthfuls, I decide that the rest can go in the cooking sometime and reseal the bottle.
Out of curiosity (I've never had Airén before), I sample it a couple more times over the next few days and, amazingly, it improves - after five days in a cool kitchen (it's currently winter in Cambridge), it develops a pleasantly minerally backbone, rather like a reasonable Muscadet.
It's still no show-stopper, but worth every one of the twenty-five pennies it cost me - realistically, I'd happily pay around four quid for this.
Bodegas Juan Ramirez - http://www.bodegasjuanramirez.com/
Cambridge Wine Merchants - http://www.cambridgewine.com/