Hot and Cold: Destinos Cruzados White Wine

whiteEver heard of Macabeo?

I hadn’t. I didn’t know if it was a grape or a town in Portugal. Turns out it’s a grape, all right, and one I’ve enjoyed many times — I just didn’t know I was drinking it.

Macabeo is one of three grape varieties blended to produce Cava, Spain’s sparkling wine. Just to confuse you even more, the grape is also called Viura in the Rioja region. The other two Cava varieties (just in case you want some obscure facts for your next trivia contest) are Parellada and Xarel-lo (no, I don’t know how to pronounce that).

I’m very fond of Cava. It’s a clean, crisp Brut style sparkling wine, and it’s a HUGE bargain compared to French and even most American sparklers. I always recommend a brand called Cristalino, and at only $10 a bottle, it’ll really stretch your wine budget. Cava makes a great aperitif wine: try serving it at your next dinner party with an appetizer of Smoked Salmon and Creme Fraiche or Boursin on a crostini. I guarantee it’ll be killer.

So back to my misterioso Macabeo. You may know that grapes used for sparkling wine production are usually high in acid, and often pretty tart on their own. But that’s what I wanted, because:

It’s mid-August, the Dog Days of Summer, and it’s 90 degrees with 90 percent humidity!

Who wants soft and fruity wine? We all craved something crisp, tart, thirst-quenching and icy cold. So I ordered this wine, untried and untested, for an in-store tasting. Destinos Cruzados 2010 was a big hit. It was just what the doctor ordered…

The color is a pale lemon yellow, suggesting the light body I expected. Sure enough — it was light and clean on the palate, with tangy citrus and green apple notes. There’s no sweetness at all, and the acid isn’t over the top (I don’t like to have my mouth turned inside out like some too-acidic whites can do). The finish is crisp, pure, and yes, thirst-quenching. This wine is simple, and sometimes simple is what works.

Destinos wines are made in the La Mancha region in southeast Spain, which I’ve written about it before in my review of Finca Sandoval Salia. The Destino line (there’s a red blend made from Tempranillo and Syrah) are priced to fly off the shelf. For under $10, I’d buy enough to fill up my picnic basket. Cheers!




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