Striking but wonderful white Rioja

These two vintages of Finca Allende’s white Rioja took me by surprise. I’ve not had all that many good experiences of white Rioja (this is largely because of winemaking choices, rather than the intrinsic quality of the grapes – there are some fabulous old white vines in the region), but these two wines were deeply impressive. They are very distinctive – and probably not for everyone – but there is no doubting their complexity and appeal. I think they are brilliant, and well worth the £20 asking price.

Allende Rioja Blanco 2007 Spain
A blend of old vine Malvasia and Viura, fermented and aged in new French oak. 13.5% alcohol. Toast and grapefruit nose is complex and bright with some oak influence. Concentrated palate with a crystalline fruit quality, as well as some floral notes. Citrus, grapefruit and subtle oak influence work well together. Like a very fine white Bordeaux in style, and will likely improve. 91/100 (£19.95 Berry Bros & Rudd)

Allende Rioja Blanco 2005 Spain
14% alcohol. Complex and intense with toast, vanilla, wax and notes. Really intense with bold, spicy, toasty complexity, and an almost structured quality, together with some pithy notes. Beautifully complex with some lovely melon and citrus notes. Really fine. 93/100 (£19.99 Oddbins – currently on the 2006 vintage)

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