Beverage Dynamics

Beverage Dynamics Jan-Feb 2016

Beverage Dynamics is the largest national business magazine devoted exclusively to the needs of off-premise beverage alcohol retailers, from single liquor stores to big box chains, through coverage of the latest trends in wine, beer and spirits.

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22 Beverage Dynamics • January/February 2016 22 Beverage Dynamics • January/February 2016 BOBAL – Spain's second most widely planted red grape is Bobal from Va- lencia, which resembles Zinfandel in more ways than one – not simply for its powerful punch and jammy fruit, but for its re- cent redemption story. The grape's generous yields and concentrated color led to its dominance in the south. Bulk shipments for deepen- ing paler wines from cooler regions, many made in the ripasso-like method known as doble pasta. However, like so many workhorse grapes, Bobal has shown it can make noble wines when treated with respect, most notably in appellations like Utiel-Requena and Manchuela. GARNACHA BLANCA – Best known as the main grape of white Chateauneuf- du-Pape, this green-skinned grape is a variant of the superstar Garnacha grape native to Aragón. While it's unclear where this mutation fi rst emerged, over 80% of its Spanish vineyards are located in Cataluña, where its wines were historically made in a nutty Sherry-like 'rancio' style. Today, leading vintners take advantage of traits this white variety shares with its red cousin to make both unoaked and oaked wines, whose heft and tactile richness can rival that of Chardonnay. The Terra Alta appellation just west of Priorat and Montsant makes some of this grape's most opulent and compelling wines. GODELLO – Galicia's next darling grape is un- doubtedly Godello, which makes more richly textured white wines than Albariño and performs best further inland in appellations like Valdeorras, Ribeira Sacra and Ribeiro. While these wines are invariably dry and still, they nonetheless echo the Chenin Blancs of the Loire in many ways, from their apple-pear fl avor ex- pression and mineral-tinged acidity to their chame- leon-like variations of char- acter and complexity based on vineyard site, vine age and degree of ripeness. GRACIANO – This in- tense red grape is Rioja's answer to Petit Verdot: a powerhouse grape tradi- tionally used in a minor blending role for adding color, tannin and fragrance but that is now earning rave reviews as a stand- alone varietal wine. Widely cultivated in Rioja and Navarra prior to phylloxera, this variety lost ground to Tempranillo and Garnacha due to its frustratingly low yields. Most varietal bot- tlings are premium wines from Rioja, but the grape's potential in warmer zones has led to increased plant- ings in places like Castil- la-La Mancha as well. MALVAR – Less than 700 acres are planted to this quirky Spanish grape, almost all in the Vinos de Madrid appellation south of the capital near Guada- lajara. However, this white variety certainly deserves attention for its lively and refreshing unoaked wines. Malvar's fl avors have a passing resemblance to those of Argentina's Tor- rontes and Italy's Friulano, in that they pleasantly combine a subtle touch of Moscato's seductive fl oral perfume with the bracing herbal tang found in Sauvi- gnon Blanc. MENCÍA – Once thought to be related to Cabernet Franc, Mencía has proven to be native to northwest- ern Spain. It is well adapted to the cool, moist Atlan- tic-infl uenced zones better known for white wines, thanks to its ability to make appealing wine even at low degrees of ripeness. The widest range of styles can be found in the Bierzo ap- pellation of Castilla y León, from strawberry-scented young Mencías in the Beau- jolais mold to more com- plex and earthy premium versions that taste more like a mashup of Chinon and Lagrein. However, higher-acid offerings from Galicia's Valdeorras, Ribeira Sacra and even Rías Baixas are acquiring a cult follow- ing among sommeliers. PRIETO PICUDO – This rare red grape from northern Spain, named for the "dark" and "pointed" appearance of its berries, makes wines whose bright acidity, red fruit and herbal aromas will appeal to Pinot Noir drinkers. The variety was long exploited for vol- ume in the relatively new Tierra de León DO just south of the ancient capi- tal city of the same name. Prieto Picudo has only re- cently begun to experience a revival driven by a few true believers in its quality potential, especially when sourced from bush vines planted in the early twenti- eth century. TEMPRANILLO BLANCO – One of Spain's rarest grapes is also one of its newest - a green- skinned 'albino' mutation of Tempranillo that appeared fi rst in 1988 and was not approved for inclusion in Rioja wines until 2007. Very little of this variety exists and most is used to en- hance blended Rioja Blanco wines, but a handful of bodegas do produce a va- rietal bottling. These sleek wines show great promise for Tempranillo Blanco as a distinctive variety in its own right, with a refreshingly cit- rusy fragrance reminiscent of pink grapefruit. BD EIGHT SPANISH GRAPES TO WATCH

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