Monday, April 29, 2019

2016 Zestos Blanco

Ten dollars.

That's it, just ten dollars.  

Wait a minute, let me get this just right - FOR CRYING OUT LOUD THIS IS A STUNNING VALUE AT TEN DOLLARS A BOTTLE!

When the Ole Imports representative was here a couple weeks ago I employed all of the cognitive skills I could muster up and I got it.  I heard his voice quaver when he mentioned this wine.  He became a little animated, just briefly, and then moved on.  It's a cheap wine so he wasn't pushing it.  He just couldn't help himself.

At the end of his presentation I redirected back to the blanco and ordered a few cases.  Mr. Ole Imports just looked at me and smiled.

So what is this stuff?  It is a pale yellow-colored dry white wine made from 100% Malvar grapes with 90% of the juice being sourced from the Vinos de Madrid DO southeast of Madrid.  The vineyards, first planted in 1950, are clay and limestone over sandy subsoil at 2,000 feet elevation.  These are not highly esteemed vineyards and Malvar, or Lairen, is an indigenous grape type not even well known in Spain so we're not looking at Napa Chardonnay pricing.

So what makes it so good?  Well, being old vine and dry farmed in poor soil, the tap roots have to go deep for moisture bringing up trace elements of minerals and nutrients in the process.  In the winery after a twelve hour maceration, the juice is fermented in stainless steel tanks and then moved to both concrete and stainless steel tanks for aging.  Then it is combined.  The stainless steel preserves freshness; the concrete allows for micro-oxygenation for complexity.  Voila!

On the nose are scents of peach, nectarine, orange and litchi fruit.  In the mouth are flavors of orange, apricot, green apple and ginger.  Nuanced tropical fruit flavors are present from start to finish.  In their literature Ole says this wine combines the acidity of Sauvignon Blanc with the body of Chardonnay.  Viognier seems a better comparison.

The Zestos label depicts women carrying huge baskets of grapes on their shoulders, an allusion to their name - Zestos means basket.  It also may allude to picnicking since this wine would work well with those kinds of foods.   Or by itself! 

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