Montsant in Catalonia is better known for toothsome reds than whites, but this old-vine blend of mostly Garnacha Blanca with 19% Xarel-lo and 5% Macabeo from Albert Jané is a revelation. Rich, complex, layered and intense, it has plenty of buttery weight from long lees ageing, aromas of fennel and thyme, flavours of pear, quince and nutmeg and a bright, fresh, stony finish. Utterly delicious.
There’s so much focus on Prosecco these day when we’re looking for a good value sparkling wine that we often forget about the joys of Cava. This cuvée of mostly Chardonnay with 10% each of the three local grapes – Parellada, Xarelo-lo and Macabeo – is complex, dry, energetic and well-balanced, with fine bubbles, notes of pear, citrus and fennel and a long, faintly savoury finish.
Production is small on these Pequeñas Vinícolas wines, alas, but the quality is very impressive indeed. This is an experimental cuvée of Macabeo and Merseguera, aged in amphora under a veil of the flor yeast. It’s an engagingly complex white with notes of wild flowers, camomile tea, tangerine peel and a hint of sea salt. Yeasty and long, it’s one of Spain’s greatest Mediterranean whites. Utterly delicious.
At only £15.95 a half bottle, this has to be one of the best value fortifieds on the market at the moment. It’s a mature, salty, rancio-style wine made from Grenache Blanc and Macabeu that’s mid way between a Sherry and a Tawny Port in style. Try it poured over vanilla ice cream or with a walnut tart.
A highly unusual (possibly unique?) blend of Macabeo, Verdil, Pedro Ximénez and Chardonnay from Valencia of all places, this stylishly packaged, leesy white was made with very little suplhur, but it’s cleaner and fresher than many “natural” wines. Ageing takes place in clay amphorae, rather than oak and the result is all about fruit: apple, pear and a hint of stone fruit with subtle spices.
An unoaked blend of Macabeu and Garnatxa Blanca, this is a bargain, with real focus and minerality from a combination of granite and slate soils. Zesty and refreshing with honeysuckle and citrus fruit notes and a long, tapering finish.
There’s a touch of Muscat in the blend of Macabeu and Garnatxa Blanca here, adding a floral, grapey top note to the wine’s minerally, almost saline core. Fresh and floral with flavours of pink grapefruit and wild herbs.
A varietal Macabeu from one of the top young producers in the region. Concentrated and flavoursome with plenty of texture, notes of honeysuckle and pear and a touch of vanilla spice, despite the absence of oak. Great value.
From the flatter, clay rich soils of the lower Emporda region, this is a blend of Malvasia, Xarel-lo, Garnatxa Blanca and Macabeu. Richer in colour with some tannin and grip, this is almost bitter sweet, with honeyed notes and a dry finish. Needs rich food to show at its best.
A traditional Cava blend (with no sign of international Chardonnay or Pinot Noir), this bottle-fermented and aged fizz is on the dry side, with crisp acidity, a hint of earthiness (more pleasant than it sounds, believe me) and a tangy, lightly toasty finish. Great party fizz.
Sourced from a small family estate in the Penedès region near Barcelona, this is a traditional style of Cava made from three local grapes and a hint of more international Chardonnay. It’s aromatic and yeasty, with notes of white pepper and fresh earth, a dry, tapering finish and good balance. Ideal as a party fizz instead of more expensive Champagne.
Freixenet was opposed to “”international varieties” for many years, but I’m glad it has relented, because this is a very well made blend of Pinot and Chardonnay. Savoury and dry, with a Cava-like twist, it’s palate-tinglingly fresh and long.