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Friday, 22 April 2022

Two Spring Whites - Spain and South Africa

Two whites from South Africa's Kleine Zalze and Spain's CVNE

Kleine Zalze Vineyard Selection Chenin Blanc 2020
Maruxa Godello 2020

I've titled this two spring whites, but these two wines are so good, you could pretty much have them any time of the year.

They are spring wines in the sense of being a bit bigger, fuller and more complex than summer garden sippers without being the sort of full-on Big Reds of the winter months.

Both wines are really well made from good fruit with lots of savoury complexity and the sort of  underpinnings that will both match food and also allow them to age.

They are old school / old world in the sense of being more "palate" than "nose"; that said, they don't lack aromatics or fruit, it's just that there is also a sophisticated texture, breadth and generosity.

If you are having guests, either would serve well as a white with starters; or match with a main if it's white meat or grilled oily fish.

Godello is native to Spain and, although increasing in popularity, is still relatively uncommon, so don't be surprised if you've never had it before. Master of Wine Siobhan Turner characterises it as "nose of bay leaves, peaches, hint of lemon. Fresh bright acidity with touch of salinity on palate."

Chenin Blanc is the great grape of the Loire; with high natural acidity, it can make everything from fizz to long-lived botrytised dessert wines via fully dry and off-dry table wines. South Africa is its second home.

Vineyard Selection Chenin Blanc 2020 (£15.10, Cambridge Wine Merchants, independents)

The grapes for this wine came from a couple of old Chenin Blanc vineyards around Stellenbosch. 

Careful canopy management ensured enough sunlight, but protected the grapes against direct sunlight.

The grapes were handpicked early in the morning and immediately crushed into holding tanks; extended skin contact extracted all the Chenin flavours to ensure good structure in the final wine.

Only the free run juice was used and settled for 1 day before inoculation with selected yeast strains. The juice was racked into barrels for fermentation.

No new barrels were used to ensure that unique characters of the specific terroirs were preserved in the wine. After fermentation the wine was aged on the primary lees for another 6 months before being racked out and prepared for bottling.

Vintage conditions allowed for good even ripening, with natural balance and healthy acidity. 

baked yellow stone fruits, citrus, honeysuckle, beeswax, orange peel and sweet spices with marzipan and brazil nut; fresh and generous with ripe peach, pineapple and mang, with creamy leesy-brazil-nut complexity; long and savoury with very good underpinnings.

Drinks nicely on first opening; improves with some aeration and can be cellared for up to ten years.

Very Good.

Match with roasted white meats, grilled seafood or tarte flambée.

Maruxa Godello 2020 (£14.75, Majestic)

Maruxa Godello is made by Virgen del Galir in Valdeorras in Spain's north west Galicia region..

Virgen del Galir is a Galician project that has been owned by CVNE since 2018, and has a focus on recovering very special micro-plots on the edge of the Camino de Santiago, specifically in the town of éntoma, in Valdeorras.

They produce fresh and very mineral wines with character. Maruxa Godello comes from a vineyard with clay loam soils with some slate and other minerals. These vines lie on slopes more than 600 metres above sea level and enjoy a continental climate with a strong Atlantic influence.

When the grapes reach optimum ripeness, they are manually harvested in 15 kg boxes. In the winery, the Maruxa Godello grapes are cooled to avoid oxidation. They are gently pressed and the resulting must begins alcoholic fermentation with native yeasts at a controlled temperature. Finally, the wine ages for 4 months on fine lees in stainless steel tanks.

Maruxa Godello is named after the mother of the winery’s founder and is a tribute to an exceptional place. This wine is faithful to the Valdeorras tradition where the native Godello variety is silky, elegant and very lively. 

CVNE, one of the biggest names in Rioja, have branched out to Valdeorras in Galicia where they pick grapes from steep terraced vineyards where the altitude encourages acidity in Godello grapes. This brings plenty of refreshing character to the wine. Expect citrus and floral aromas, with a complex, mineral finish. 

white flowers, orchard fruits, citrus, white pepper and honeysuckle; fresh and complex with ripe tropical citrus and yellow stone fruits with creamy, savoury brazil nut ands hints of aniseed, marzipan and Mediterranean herbs. Broad, harmonious and savoury with good underpinnings.

Drinks nicely on first opening; improves with some aeration and can be cellared.

Very Good.

Match with scallops or roasted pork belly.

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