Brave hart: Cérvoles Blanc 2005

Cérvoles Blanc 2005, Costers del Segre, Spain

(£21.95 for the 2013 at Berry Bros or globally via Wine Searcher)

Tasting this venerable white wine in plush London surroundings, it was odd to recall that Susie and I had visited the sun-strewn, dusty upland landscape of Costers del Segre shortly before this wine was made.

We were impressed then by the elegance and character of the region’s best wines – including Cérvoles.

So being able to taste this white, an oak-aged blend of Chardonnay and Macabeo grown at altitude and made in small volumes, 12 years after it was made was both a fascinating and rewarding insight.

Sometimes Spanish Chardonnay can be decent but dull. Not this one. I can’t imagine too many people will have kept this 2005 but it was glorious, testament to the quality and staying power of this wine. The aromas were a bit funky, to be honest, but all the more intriguing for it, with hints of dried leather, aniseed and honey-glazed peach. The flavour profile was really grippy and complex: broad, mouth-filling and sumptuous but also elegant. Glorious stuff – a real treat.

I tasted this wine as part of an initiative by Grandes Pagos de España to show off some of their more mature wines. Grandes Pagos is an association of Spanish producers dedicated to producing single-estate wines. Their stance is a relevant one at a time when there is a big drive in Spanish wine to promote the notion of ‘terroir’ – an initiative which has caused controversy recently given it can fall foul of establishment views on the perceived importance of regional and brand identity in Spanish wine.

Other notable wines from this tasting included the delightfully mature, peppery Caus Lubis 1998 Can Rafols dels Caus; deliciously mushroomy Chivite Blanco Barrica 2005 and an elegantly juicy, poised Finca Sandoval Signo Garnacha de Manchuela 2011.

(Peter, 8/10, March 2017)