Something is afoot in La Rioja, the Spanish winemaking region acclaimed for its aged red wines: Producers are converting more of their vineyards to growing the white viura grape. It’s a welcome shift.
We’re all familiar with the well-priced reds, but the white Riojas deserve to be better known. Soon, it seems, they will be.
Even Bodegas Baigorri, whose name derives from a Basque word meaning something like “just red,” is selling a lovely white wine (confusingly, Baigorri Blanco—or “just red white”), aged in French oak barrels, with a lovely golden color and supple notes of honeydew and guava. If there’s a better way to while away a summer’s afternoon, we don’t know it.
For the Beach Party
Campo Viejo Cava Brut Reserva
This vibrant spakler, from one of La Rioja’s most famous winemakers, comes with an elegance on the tongue. It’s nicely rounded, with a clean aftertaste. For $13 a bottle, it’s also a value.
For the Barbecue
From the family-owned Muriel winery in the medieval Basque village of Elciego comes the lovely, zesty Muriel Blanco, a steal at $12.
Tierra Rioja Alavesa Blanco
With its delicate honey color and a nose of ripe stone fruit, this is a wonderful dinner wine that would pair perfectly with roast chicken or salmon.