Even though I have gained my CSW credential, I still consider myself a newbie when it comes to wine. To be honest, I think I will always feel this way and therein lies part of the allure for me.
I attended a tasting this past weekend with Domaine Wine Distributors of Georgia at Savi Provisions. All of the wines were unique in that they are not produced in large quantities and therefore not sold through large outlets. There were a few that got my attention, but none more than the Bodegas de Mateos Temperanillo Blanco. Say what? I did not know white Temperanillo existed. The wine kept me busy all day Sunday googling, researching and reading.
Here’s what I learned.
The white grape variety is the result of a mutation of the red Temperanillo grape. This is not unusual, there a many mutations that are very well known varietals — Pinot Noir, Pinot Gris, Pinot Blanc are all mutations of the same variety. It turns out this white Tempranillo grape was only just discovered in Rioja in 1988 and is only grown in the Rioja region. The Consejo Regulador approved the grape for use in Rioja wines in 2007.
The wine I tasted was 100% Tempranillo Blanco, so this got me thinking because I had been under the impression that a white Rioja had to be produced with at least 51% Virua grapes. I went back to my Certified Specialist of Wine course book, my notes and one of my favorite sources, Wine Folly. My coursework confirmed that any white Rioja wine had to be produced with a minimum of 51% Viura grapes. Wine Folly even went so far as to say that Tempranillo Blanco is used in blends from Rioja containing 51% Viura. I visited the Consejo Regulador for Rioja wine website which listed each type of grape approved, but I could not find mention of percentage requirements. Finally, I googled images of 100% Tempranillo Blanco wines so I could inspect the label. There definitely are Tempranillo Blanco blends out there, but there are also 100% Termpranillo Blanco wines and it sure does appear that they can be labeled with the Rioja DOCa. If anyone reading this can elaborate further, please enlighten me! These are the kinds of things I love to let me drive nuts;)
My palette is in the development stages, but should you come across a Tempranillo Blanco you might find notes of citrus and green apples with minerality and grassy notes as well. The wine I tasted was young and un-oaked. I would love try an oak aged version.
I tend to gravitate towards reds so I can’t say this was my favorite wine of the evening, but it surely was my favorite discovery. I will try a Temperanillo Blanco any time the opportunity presents itself.
Have you ever experienced one? Please comment with your thoughts and impressions if you have.