Monday, June 11, 2007

The Breezy Las Brisas Rueda

Now that the weather is turning warmer, it's time to bring out the summer whites, and what could be more summery than a white wine named after a cooling breeze? I bought the 2005 Bodegas Naia Las Brisas ($9.99, Beverages and More) on the recommendation of Sonadora at Wannabe Wino, who gave me some help back in January when I posted my New Year's Resolution to learn more about Spanish wines. I had a hard time finding it--it was always out of stock at my local BevMo--but finally I got my hands on some.

The 2005 Bodegas Naia Las Brisas was very pale straw in color, to the point of being almost translucent. Made of 50% Verdejo (which is not the same as Verdelho, but an entirely different grape), mixed with equal parts of sauvignon blanc and viura, I liked the fresh aromas of apples, pears, and the pungent white pith of a lemon after you've zested it. All of these aroma notes can be found in the flavors of the wine, and that lemon pith note gives the finish a slightly bitter edge. One important point: if you serve it too cold there will be almost no flavor to this wine at all, just a citrus impression. Let it warm up a bit, and the orchard fruits characteristic of the varietal do come out, along with an almond flavor that is very appealing and different. I've never had a verdejo wine before, but its strong display of the grape's varietal characteristics combined with its low price makes me think this represents excellent QPR.

The Las Brisas is a perfect appetizer wine, or just for sipping with a handful of almonds or nuts after work. But it also goes great with shellfish. We had it with a Southeast Asian Shrimp Salad, made with a simple dressing and loads of vegetables and herbs. It was a terrific pairing, since the clean, tart flavors in the wine and the salad matched each other.

This wine was made in the Rueda wine region just north and west of Madrid, an up-and-coming area that is known for its white wines. Even if you can't get your hands on the Las Brisas, try a Rueda white this summer. Chances are it will be just as crisp and refreshing as this wine was.

10 comments:

winedeb said...

Summer whites are just my favorite thing! And I do agreee with you on not serving them too chilled. I found that out with a rose' I was drinking that the fruit was so much more prominent when the wine was just a little warmer than right out of the frig. Adding your suggestion to my list!

Sonadora said...

Excellent! Glad you finally found it. And that about exhausts my knowledge of Spanish wines :) Given my slightly CA leaning wine cellar, I don't much find myself roaming to other wines these days!

jb said...

Las Brisas is good. Also try the Telmo Rodrigues Basa White if you can find it. Around the same price I think. They have it at Larchmont Wine and Cheese, and they're sure to have them at either Wine House or K&L...we don't carry either (yet). The Ercavio Blanco is also good (we'll have that soonish).

jb said...

sorry for the multitude of typos in my last comment. whoops!

Dr. Debs said...

Hi everybody! Sorry for the slow response. Winedeb, summer wines are special, aren't they? This is perfect for where you live, and serving it with seafood--divine. Sonadora, all your suggestions have been great. This may have been my favorite among them, so thank you! And JB, I will look for that wine, and look forward tot he Ercavio Blanco, too.

Samuel said...

Spectacular find, I already finish 2 cases. A summer must.

Dr. Debs said...

Glad you liked it Samuel! It is indeed a perfect summer wine.

Anonymous said...

Not 1005 Verdejo, but a tank-aged blend of 50% Verdejo and equal parts Sauvignon Blanc and Viura

Dr. Debs said...

Thanks Anonymous! I will make the correction.

VINOSAPIENS said...

Rueda to blend or not to blend:

Love 100% Verdejos from Rueda with big food (lobster Bisque, Pork, Poultry covered in heavy sauces etc.) These full throttle vinos are powerful with big acidity like a good Kiwi Sauvignon Blanc and finish really dry.

With fresh seafood or to sip I like juicy Rueda blends like Las Brisas - this little gem is really charming!

How about a Las Brisas Rosado?!!