Just under a year ago, one of our major suppliers changed their rep. The old guy left to pursue his hobbies further and we got a new contact. The new guy is a totally different character to Chris (the old one). Noel is great, his sheer enthusiasm for wine and in particular certain wines is contagious and gets me fired up. I love it when he comes to see me, because I know that he wont bring me any crap, and I know that I wont get any bullshit from him. It was Noel who turned up one afternoon with a satchel full of wines to try, and the passion and enthusiasm to make me actually sit down and taste them with him. Im so glad that I did, because amongst those wines was one hidden gem, that through some sheer fluke of logistical errors, he had managed to get his hands on. That wine was the Remelluri Rioja Blanco. Now they only make a small amount of this wine, and about three dozen bottles make it into the UK through Alliance wines. They guard this jealously and needless to say you dont get samples. Now whether Noel just got lucky and someone at the warehouse just got careless, or perhaps being the new guy they gave some some serious ammo to come and see me, who knows.
The wine was amazing. Now Ive had plenty of white rioja before, horrible, overoxidised wines that more resemble sherry that white wine. In fact when I was at Gleneagles we sometimes used bottles of Castillo Ygay's white rioja as sherry if we ran out of Croft. Im amazed that we often got away with it!!! So I didnt really hold out much hope when Noel raved about the wine and cracked it open. On the nose it has the most amazing aromas, fresh aromatic, floral notes with white fruits and apricots. Its cepage reads more like a white Chateauneuf - Moscatel, garnacha blanca, viognier, sauvignon blanc, chardonnay, roussanne and marsanne and finally some petit courbut. It hasnt the oilyness of most white chtxneufs but a fresher almost more new worldy rhone-a-like style. I was lucky enough, having tasted it, to then be able to get six bottles. Bloody hell it wasnt cheap, but Ive taken a hit on the margin to put it on at £75 a bottle. Considering that the white Chtxneufs are priced at a similar price, thats a real steal! But when its gone its gone, I doubt Ross will sign for another six!!