2011 Conde de Valdemar "Finca Alto Cantabria" Blanco Rioja
#73 on Top 100 of 2012! "This expressive white shows pear, lanolin, almond and herbal flavors that are lean yet polished, with crisp acidity and a light tannic grip. A traditional style. Drink now through 2016."
Conde de Valdemar is a large, independently owned bodega in the Rioja village of Oyón. While their traditionally oriented red wines are very solid, it is this white that most recently stood out. It's a spectacular wine! Good white Rioja is one of my favorite wines in the world to drink: crisp, dry to bone dry with wonderful acidity, and a stony minerality that distinguishes the best of these wines. This single vineyard white (it comes from a 12 hectare, 40 year old vineyard just northeast of Logroño) is barrel fermented and aged for a brief four months, a short period in oak that subtly frames the wine as opposed to overwhelming it. If you want to taste some real Rioja Alta style terroir as transmitted by the humble, overachieving Viura grape, I strongly suggest you check this wine out! (Joe Manekin, K&L Spanish wine buyer)