The same monkey who was running through our neighborhood yelling in Spanish a few weeks ago returned this week. This time he left a bottle of 2012 Solar de Estraunza, a white Rioja made of 100% Viura. I am no wine expert, but I have had my share of Spanish whites and had never heard of Viura, so I did some research which included an interesting article by Jancis Robinson(if you are interested in learning more about the varietal). Viura is the name used in Rioja for the grape more commonly known as Macabeo. It is the principal grape used in white Rioja, mostly blended but occasionally on its own as it is with today’s offering.
White Rioja is made in two distinctively different styles; the modern style is crisp and meant to be consumed young, the other, more traditional style is aged in oak and can last for many years. This wine is clearly the of the former.
Some friends (also wine drinkers happened to stop by so we shared it with them to get a broader sense of opinion. All four of us drink reds and whites, but lean toward mostly reds. On to notes…
We served the wine cold (10 minutes from the refrigerator). The color is light straw/golden with the tiniest hint of green. Consensus that the aroma is mostly citrus; everyone said grapefruit, one said green apple. I got a hint of something floral that I couldn’t quite put my finger on. Not strong, think wildflowers that you pick up in the breeze on a late spring afternoon. Upon tasting, all four said grapefruit almost simultaneously. Other descriptions were dry (all), crisp (3 of 4), refreshing (3)moderate acidity (2),honeydew (1)pear (1) apricot (1).
One taster just kept saying “short” over and over. I agree that the finish was short, but do think she meant it as an overall impression of the wine, and not just the finish, as I too sensed there was just something missing that I could not put a name to. The article I referenced noted that with Viura, in order to reach aromatic maturity you need to achieve 13% alcohol. As this is listed at 12.5% perhaps that could account for the missing element that could elevate this wine to something better.
We all agreed the wine was an easy refreshing drinker, not complex, but at the right price, would make a good pool-side sipper. If you are one of the Century Club chasers and have not had Viura or if you would like to try Viura/Macabeo on its own/unblended, this would be a great opportunity to do so.
[Edit] I felt I should apologize for the re-hash of Viura education after reading Chipgreen's post. I compose my review before reading others so I am not biased and did not realize he had covered it already.