£17.49, House of Townend
In small letters on the label of Clunia Albillo, it says 'Viñedo Extremo Cultivado a 1000m'. Fair enough. An altitude of 1,000m is certainly high, but it's not the only unusual thing about this dry white wine, of which only about 4,000 bottles are produced a year.
The grape, Albillo, is a little-known indigenous variety. Or two. Or three. Or more.
Confused? I was. Albillo is used for several grape varieties in Spain, some of them unrelated, and official documentation often doesn't distinguish between them. So, although there are two true Albillos in northern Spain's Castilla y Leon region, you may not know whether you're getting Albillo Mayor or Albillo Real.
Does it really matter? Perhaps not, but Bodegas Clunia has helpfully told me that it its vines are Albillo Mayor; three hectares in sandy, chalky soils with lots of clay, in its Bocigas vineyard in the province of Burgos.
Thanks to the elevation, there's a big difference – 25ºC –between day and night-time temperatures, ensuring that the fruit ripens slowly, developing aromatic potential and retaining freshness. Yields are low and the wine is made entirely from free-run juice fermented then aged for five months in 500-l French oak barrels.
As for the wine in the glass, the 2021 has a delicate, fresh nose of white peach and linden flowers and a generous, mouth-filling palate with mineral and lime-zest acidity and a touch of spice. It's creamy, polished and individual, reminding me slightly of Godello and slightly of Viognier.
Try it with seafood and mixed paellas, other seafood dishes, including creamy scallop dishes, fish pie, roast or creamy chicken dishes, ricotta with broad beans, peas and mint, or hard and semi-hard cheeses. 13.5%. Empty bottle weight: 683g.
Clunia Albillo 2021, Vino de la Tierra de Castilla y Leon, Spain