A Smart, Summery, Sensibly Priced Spanish White

Wine editor MARY DOWEY selects a ZINGY WHITE from the NAVARRA REGION as her bottle of the week …

Príncipe de Viana Edición Blanco, Navarra 2016

There’s been some drum-beating in Ireland recently for the Spanish wine region of Navarra – and a good thing too. Seriously overshadowed by its near neighbour Rioja, Navarra’s response is to offer a wider range of styles at keener prices. Its main output is red, as is the case in Rioja. But the wine I enjoyed most at a recent Navarra dinner was this poised, zingy white.

A blend of Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay in equal proportions, it has delicate white peach, lime and grapefruit flavours knitted into a smooth body. Best of all, bearing this time of year in mind, is that it’s wonderfully zesty. The grapes are picked in the middle of the night and kept chilled until they are pressed in order to seal in that crucial freshness.

Another interesting point is that wild rather than commercial yeasts are used in the vinification process – a practice which serious winemakers are adopting increasingly in order to achieve more natural flavours. Set up in the early 1980s, Príncipe de Viana has established a reputation for being both innovative and quality-driven, as this classy number suggests. It’s no surprise to hear that it was recently judged Best White Wine from DO Navarra 2017 by a panel of Spanish experts.

At around €15 Edición Blanco represents excellent value and it’s versatile too. Enjoy it as an aperitif or with light first courses or seafood. As I write these words I’m fantasising about having a bottle on hand for a Vietnamese prawn salad… or goat’s cheese on toast with a trickle of fresh pesto… or even just a bowl of cherry tomatoes.

Alcohol: 13%

From Nolans, Dublin 3; Drink Store, Dublin 7; Higgins, Dublin 14; Grape & Grain, Leopardstown Inn, Stillorgan; Ardkeen, Waterford; Cappagh Stores, Knocknacarra, Co Galway; Dalys, Boyle, Co Roscommon; Brosnans, Schull, Co Cork, usually €14.99.


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