I’m always surprised how many Rioja drinkers – and there are a lot in Britain – only ever drink red Rioja. Far less white is produced, but that’s no reason to leave it on the shelf. Very broadly speaking, it comes in two styles: aged in oak barrels or without oak. I like it with some oak. Artadi, which is organic, was fermented in French oak, but not matured in it. Instead it was kept in large tanks for two years – a long time – and with the lees (dead fermentation yeasts). It might sound counter-intuitive but ageing on lees keeps the wine fresh, while making it richer in texture. The result is a supple, complex, buttered-cinnamon-toast of a wine with yellow plum, nectarine and citrus flavours and spicy, slightly ozony freshness. You can drink it now – with, for example, pork, poultry, cheese or creamy dishes – or keep it (in cellar conditions) for four or five more years. Normally it’s £19.95, but it’s £2 off until December 24.
Viñas de Gain Artadi Rioja Blanco 2010, Rioja, Spain
£17.95, Jeroboams shops in London and jeroboams.co.uk