Gonzalez Byass Altozano Verdejo Sauvignon Blanc from Spain's inland Castilla region was something of a first for me as I have no record of ever having had Verdejo before.
And with no entry for the grape in my trusty Oz Clarke Pocket Wine Book of a few years ago, I checked on Wikipedia to find that Verdejo wines are aromatic, often soft and full-bodied.
I reviewed the wine with a couple of colleagues who had enjoyed the tasting I presented earlier in the week and were keen to learn a bit more about wine in general - I selected this one as hopefully a good "introduction to tasting" wine .
I started by putting the wine in our company wine fridge at (doesn't every company have one ?) at the beginning of the day, with the result that when serving several hours later, it was at just the right temperature (and several degrees warmer than I usually serve whites at home) - the fridge notwithstanding, there are no company decanters, so on opening, I poured it into a broad-bottomed water jug as the next best bet.
Straw-coloured in the glass, on first opening the nose is floral with the yeasty toastiness of thick skinned grapes. There is some sweet spiciness whilst the fruit aromas are of ripe peaches, apricots and pineapple.
On the palate, there is more ripe, tropical fruit, with some mid-palate sweetness of melon, a fresh, rounded acidity and more toastiness. It feels mouthfilling and there is a minerality on the finish that increases with aeration.
Overall, it feels very well made and balanced in an easy-drinking, more-ish and crowd-pleasing way, as befits a wine in this price bracket; you can't really ask for much more.
The different characteristics of the two grapes are well integrated even if distinct at times; with more aeration, the Sauvignon characteristics become more prominent - especially the minerality on the finish - but the transition from the softness of the Verdejo to the minerality of the Sauvignon is seamless, whilst a curiously cool mintiness also develops on the palate.
Medium-bodied and ripe with fresh acidity, this would match well with roast chicken, salmon or hard yellow cheeses.
It also proved popular with my colleagues who had started by saying "Yes, we like this" but after an hour or so of swirling, sniffing and gentle coaching found themselves using words like minerality, balanced and botrytis-like.
£7.49 from Ocado, Rhythm & Booze, Villeneuve Wines, drinkshop.com and independents; provided for review.
Gonzalez Byass - http://gonzalezbyass.com/en/intro.htm
Ocado - http://www.ocado.co.uk/