El Puño, Viogner, Vino de Mesa, 2009 | Catavino
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El Puño, Viogner, Vino de Mesa, 2009

Now I normally recoil from international varieties being propagated on Spanish soil like a liberal in Alabama. The idea of Pinot Noir in Castilla, for example, is about as revolting as seeing an Englishman in a baseball cap (to borrow a phrase from the Libertines). But, as we all know, Ribera del Duero is not built on Tempranillo alone

And credit where credit is due. Scottish winemaker Norrel Roberston MW (who has probably done more than enough for Grenache in Calatayd – although that doesn’t mean the region’s old, old vines are not in danger, quite the contrary) has produced a really lovely barrel-fermented Viognier in that selfsame region. Which means that it cannot be classed as Aragon or Calatayud (Viogner is not a recognised grape in those regions) and is therefore downgraded to Vino de Mesa.

Nonetheless, this is a lovely drop. A bit on the pricey side if you’re looking for a lunchtime quaffer, but this wine, fermented in 500 litre barrels, is deserving of perhaps more than a quick gulp over a salad nicoise. Still, at £18.99 it’s not at all excessive. Break it out for an evening aperitif/starter among good friends.

El Puño, Viognier, Vino de Mesa, 2009
Lovely nose – very much an aroma of lime cordial – it smells so fresh and beautiful. Pretty, with a really nice texture on the palate, this is a great example of the variety that is often so big and peachy and sickly and flabby when it’s made in an ‘international’ style. Hats of to the flying scotsman. More info on El Puño

Tasted at the London International Wine Fair 2011.


Oliver Styles

  • Quentin

    I love the sentiments, but as the French stole Garnacha and changed its name, why can’t the Spanish steal Viognier? Seems fair. Why anyone would want to when there are such lovely white grapes in Spain is another question entirely though.

  • Does anyone know how many years it takes for a grape variety to be considered ‘native’ to a region and for it to not be considered as ‘foreign’?

    • I always wondered the same thing!

      • Quentin

        It’s a great question and I was tempted to make up a stupidly precise answer, fought it though!

    • No idea. @ Catavino: Viogner and Vino de Mesa? Thanks.