Spain’s new world
Where is the New World? According to conventional thinking, it comprises North and South America, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa (although vines arrived there nearly 400 years ago). However, it seems to me that certain corners of old Europe are just as new in terms of innovative planting and wine-making as anywhere in California or the Antipodes. This goes especially for Spain, a fascinating wine country that’s both traditional and extremely go-ahead.
There’s more to Valencia than beaches and fiestas, reveals
Why you should be drinking it
Until quite recently, Spain—for most wine drinkers—was Rioja, sherry, perhaps the Torres wines from Catalonia, possibly Navarra and an inexpensive table wine called Don Pedro. There have been tremendous developments: Ribera del Duero and Priorat for top-quality reds and, for whites, Albariño from Galicia, Rueda and, more recently still, Godello. One area I wasn’t expecting to produce really high-quality wines, both white and red, was Valencia, better known for beaches and fiestas.
What to drink
The revelation in Valencia has been Bodegas Mustiguillo, an exceptionally go-ahead outfit high up in the hills and well inland from the hot coast. Mestizaje Blanco 2016 (£13.50; www. bbr.com) is 65% Merseguera (an interesting local grape), 24% Viognier and 11% Malvasía. It’s perfumed on the nose, then satisfyingly crisp. Finca Calvestra Merseguera 2014 (right, £19.75; www.bbr.com) has a scent of orange blossom, then tastes almost Chablis-like, with stony minerality and lemony acidity—both unusual and fine. Mestizaje Tinto 2014 (£15; www. bbr.com) is made mainly from Bobal and has lots of elegance and acidity. The 100% Bobal Finca Terrerazo 2014 (£24.95; www.bbr.com) is deep in colour, with inky complexity and a core of raspberry fruit.