White grapes generally prefer a slightly cooler climate, so the bulk of the best Spanish whites are in Green Spain which comprises a strip along the northern and western coast.
Galicia is best known for peach scented Albariño grown in Rias Baixas – the lower estuaries near Portugal. This is a wine that you should probably have heard of given that there are more than 30 available for sale in Ireland. The thick skins of the grape make it perfectly suited to the damp conditions and sea breezes in Galica; add in its fine acidity and you have the perfect food wine – particularly suited to spicy dishes.
Another quality Galician contribution is Godello, which is grown in Monterrei and Valdeorras in eastern Galicia, and in Bierzo just over the border in Castilla y Léon. Godello almost died out in the 1970s but has had a major revival and some would argue that it is Spain’s most interesting white varietal. Godello has similar weight to Albariño with a solid floral aroma and fine rich minerality with good ageing potential.
Some other Galician grapes you may encounter include Treixadura, Torrontés, Loureira (used in Portugal for Vinho Verde), and Caiño Branco.
The small region of Rueda in Castilla y Léon produces the other widely available quality Spainsh white wine Verdejo, a grape that is now grown in other regions such as Rioja and Castilla La Mancha. The best Verdejo is aromatic and rich with medium to high acidity and fine mouth feel, again an excellent food wine for seafood and also for richer dishes such as paella.
Now we need to talk about Airén, which was once the most planted grape in the world (in terms of hectares), mostly in La Mancha to feed the Spanish brandy industry. Airén is generally unremarkable but if drunk very young it can be a fresh light wine.
The Basque country doesn’t have a large wine industry but it does produce some intriguing Txakoli– an unusual wine with a hint of fizz and a dry salty taste that is perfect for matching with Basque seafood.
In Rioja the white grape is Viura (also called Macabeo), and is best drunk young – although there are some fascinating oak aged versions; I once drank a delicious 50 year old version at a friend’s birthday party.
In Penédes you will find experiments with the Catalan grape Xarel-lo (pronounced Charello), a grape which is light but can be aromatic if kept on its lees. Xarel-lo is best known for its use in Cava along with Macabeo and Parellada.
In the Levant in Alicante you will find Verdil and throughout Spain you will find experiments with Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc and other international varieties.
Finally there are the great Palomino and Pedro Ximénez grapes – innocuous if made into wine but outstanding when made into Sherry.
Comment from Wines Inform Assessors:
It is difficult to summarize a country and its production in such a short time, so I think your information is very valid
Let me add some information:
Fashions and ways of working the grapes make vary the interest of consumers on them:
Albariño (Galicia) is a successful grape and valued forever
Verdejo (Castilla León) has had a time of growing success and is an example of valuing indigenous grapes
Xarel·lo is the big bet -with garnatxa blanca- of the Catalan wineries for quality
Garnatxa blanca -White Grenache- is the new big grape attractsinginterest. Worked otherwise, this grape that gave rise to dense wines now produces excellent wines, fresh and full-bodied
Es dificil resumir un país y su producción en tan poco tiempo, así que pienso que su información es muy válida
Déjeme añadir alguna información
Las modas y las maneras de trabajar las uvas hacen variar el interés de los consumidores por ellas:
Albariño (Galicia) es una uva exitosa y valorada desde siempre
Verdejo (Castilla León) ha tenido un momento de éxito creciente y es un ejemplo de valoración de las uvas autóctonas
Xarel·lo es la gran apuesta de las bodegas catalanas por su calidad
Garnatxa blanca es la nueva gran uva que atrae el interés. Trabajada de otra manera , esta uva que daba lugar a vinos densos ahora produce excelentes vinos, frescos y con cuerpo
Origin information: Ireland's Foodservice Platform