I had a white Rioja for the first time a few weeks ago, and I was impressed! If you’re a fan of Pinot Grigio (or Gris), Sauvignon Blanc, or any other crisp white wine, you should check out some Spanish whites. The only Spanish white I had previously had was an Albariño, which is prevalent in the Rías Baxias (pronounced ree-ahs buy-shuss) region of Galicia. (It’s also grown in the Vinho Verde region of Portugal.)
By contrast, the white grape of Rioja (another region in Spain) is Viura. The white Rioja I recently tried was a 100% Viura made by Compañía Vinícola Norte de España (or CVNE, which they morphed into CUNE) and sold under the name Monopole.
It’s another great choice for summer when you’re looking for something a little different. It’s floral, fruity, and minerally, all at once. It’s aged completely in stainless steel tanks (so if you’re not a fan of oak, don’t worry!) and is a great aperitif on its own or a wonderful accompaniment to seafood, appetizers such as guacamole or hummus, pasta with tomato sauce, and goat-milk cheeses.
The price is also a delight–it averages about $12 a bottle.