Posted by: tomciocco | June 18, 2012


Here’s one obscure and slightly odd (but intriguing) grape from an also somewhat odd place. The variety (which is a white grape, by the way) is called Malvar and it comes from Madrid. Nowhere near the Escorial mind you, and technically not even really within the city limits, as seemingly limitless as they can seem for those of you who have been to the Spanish capital…

In what amounts to a figurative “smile” underneath and to the sides of Castile’s sprawling metropolis, often situated at quite high altitudes (this evening’s wine is sourced from vines growing at over 2,100 feet above sea level) is a viticultural region called “Vinos de Madrid”. Madrid conjures lots of great images and stories, but it being the center of a great wine region like Vienna or Siena are not among them. And traditionally, much of this region’s production was indeed destined to fill garrafas in working class tapas bars in and around this big, hungry city, but in local varieties like Malvar, the region may have found a future champion – one with a chance to slip into Verdejo’s and Viura’a space, and hang them up pretty good…

Dinner consisted of a nueva cocina – like  salad of watermelon, avocado, cucumber, and almonds with a trio of aromatic herbs and a pinch of spices, and then grilled chicken “steaks” marinated in lemon juice, white wine, garlic, parsley, and pimenton picante, with a side of fried potatoes.









Zestos Vinos de Madrid Malvar 2010

Pale straw color. The nose is a zesty pastiche of lemon, green apple, a hint of pineapple, crushed seashells, nuts, and rice pudding. The palate is surprisingly big and mouth filling with a medium full, and even slightly rich mouthfeel, that is well balanced by a pointy acidity, and an energetic and tightly coiled core that spins off ripe yellow cherries, pomelo, peach pit, beeswax, and dried flowers. The finish is quite long with savory, pale whiskey notes.

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