Wine review: Espelt Vailet 2008

I had a revelation the other day, and the Vailet was the reason. Spanish white wine is undergoing a renaissance in quality and style, and I need to drink as much of it as possible — so I can spread the word, of course.

The Vailet ($12, purchased, available at Central Market) is an excellent example of what’s going on with Spanish whites. It’s from Emporda, a little-known region even in a country with a lot of little-known regions, and it’s made with two grapes that are also little known, garnacha blanca and macabeo. In the old days, that combination was something to be worried about. This time, though, the result is a clean, crisp white wine that is related to sauvignon blanc in style and substance, but is refreshingly different. Look for lemon fruit and a very long mineral finish, and a little more depth than a lot of sauvignon blancs at this price. Also impressive: This was the previous vintage (the 2009 is the current vintage), and it had not lost a thing, either in fruit or freshness.

Serve chilled, and try it with almost anything except big, red meat. I drank it with roast chicken, and it was terrific, and it would probably pair with most seafood and even something like asparagus and prosciutto.


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