I had been looking for a white Rioja for some time before I found Eguren Ugarte Rioja Blanco Crianza 2019 which meets my high expectations. The problem I have is that many white Riojas taste bitter; more often than not they are produced from the rather neutral Viura or Macabeo grape and to produce flavours some winemakers get a bit heavy-handed with oak, oxidation or both. This however is a whole different ball game. Eguren Ugarte Rioja Blanco Crianza 2019 is a modern-style white Rioja produced 50/ 50 from Tempranillo Blanco and Sauvignon Blanc grapes, quite an unusual but interesting blend. Tempranillo Blanco is relatively rare and was only discovered in the late 1980s; it’s a mutation of the black Tempranillo grape that we know and love from red Rioja. Its intense flavours and zesty acidity are a good match for Sauvignon Blanc. After fermentation in stainless steel and ageing on its lees in barrel for structure and texture, the resulting wine is medium-bodied, with a smooth texture tasting of citrus fruits and green apples with subtle tropical fruits, hints of cloves and toast and some floral notes. A really interesting wine with no bitterness at all!
Eguren Ugarte Rioja Blanco Crianza is sustainably produced (certified by the Basque organisation HAZI).