We changed up the format for the July tasting by sampling six completely different white wines, rather than the usual comparison of one grape or appellation. Six distinct appellations were represented, and we were happy with the diversity displayed in our glasses. Most did express a common note of minerality, however. None were expensive.
Josephine continued her winning ways (she won the recent Clash of the Priorat Reds), with a perfect-scoring bottle of Godello, showing outstanding balance and a seamless palate. Everyone voted for it as their first place wine, which has become more rare lately. Kristin's entry was an oddball Xarel-lo, with an unfiltered, cloudy appearance and a sour, funky palate.
As a first-time guest taster, Angela did a good job expressing her opinions.
The last time we visited this topic was in August 2017.
First Place: Vinos de Terruños Godello Benaza 2020 (Monterrei). Tasters found some nuttiness on the nose, similar to hazelnuts or roasted chestnuts, along with wet rocks, pine bark, soap, pears, apples, and thyme. Inviting, bright and fresh, but with a bare hint of funk. Very well-balanced in the mouth, with excellent acidity and a long finish, offering flavors of stone fruits and lemongrass. Seamless, with floating, uninterrupted texture. Felt like a late spring breeze. A touch of cream late on the finish. Andy noted that it "undulated on your tongue." Everyone's favorite, for a total of 36 points. Josephine's bottle. About $19.
Second Place: Bodegas Langa Garnacha Blanca Pi-3.1415 2019 (Aragon). Straw color, with a complex, inviting nose reminiscent of green pears, apples, juniper, thyme, kafir limes, chalk, and salty air. Josephine was reminded of "linden blossoms." Hints of acetone and whisky, but also fresh and bright. Plenty of acidity and bordering on tart, with an intense palate of lime juice, white peaches, wet pebbles, and a saline finish. 20 points. David's bottle. About $22.
Third Place: Palma Real Verdejo 2021 (Rueda). A little spritzy in the glass, offering scents of grapefruit, banana, strawberry, papaya, pineapple, brown sugar, and limes. Fruity and fun. Lime and red grapefruit flavors, with a lot of acidity, with very good intensity. The spritz gives it some life. A hint of nuttiness. 15 points. Angela's bottle. About $14.
Columna Albariño 2018 (Rias Baixas). Bright aromas of limes, pineapple, coconuts, citronella, lemons, and wilted greens. Some minerality, but also an oily note. David felt that this was like "sad celery." More minerality on the palate, but with a rich texture, having flavors of oranges, limes, and tropical fruits. A bit shorter on the finish, where a metallic note emerges. Ali noted that it "goes a little bit brown", while Andy felt that "there was a moment I was going into butterscotch, but then it's more a caramel." David guessed incorrectly that this was the Garnacha Blanca. 12 points. Ali's bottle. About $20.
Can Suriol Xarel-lo Bancals 2019 (Penedès). Unabashedly cloudy in appearance. Tasters were reminded of scents like modeling glue, paint thinner, cardboard, vinegar, lemonade, pickle juice, salty cheese, and acetone. Ali noted that "I feel like I shouldn't be inhaling this", while David commented that "It doesn't smell dirty, it smells sour", and suggested that it smelled like a sour beer. Flavors of lemonade, sour beer, cider, yeast, seasoned ketchup, and oyster juices. Angela wondered, "Is this wine? It doesn't taste like wine." Received one point from Kristin. Kristin's bottle. About $22.
Compañia Vinicola del Norte de España Blanco Seco Monopole 2020 (Rioja). Made mostly from Viura grapes, this offered aromas of petroleum, river rock, dried apricot, fruit punch, cotton candy, and Kool-Aid. Leaned toward funk, which Andy described as "old basketball left out in the rain." Tasted artificial, and did not develop much on the palate, showing some promise on the attack, but then fades quicky. No points. Andy's bottle. About $15.