2020 Mustiguillo Mestizaje, Valencia, Spain (750ml)

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Bodegas Mustiguillo is a lovely site of classic old country Spanish architecture set against the beautiful landscape of Valencia, 100 kilometers from the Mediterranean coast in eastern Spain. The Sarrion family behind it all is even more spectacular, with a genuine warm hospitality and a welcoming positive energy. Toni Sarrion traded in his career in business for a life tending vines and making wines. His initial mission when he founded Mustiguillo in the early 1990s was to save the ancient red Bobal grape from extinction when he rejuvenated vineyards that were in his family and also purchased more old vine vineyards (at least 40 years old with some dating back to 1917) that had been abandoned. He started farming organically and making elegant, age-worthy Bobal like no one imagined could be done. The white grape, Merseguera, was a similarly abandoned varietal that he also wanted to save, so he spent four years farming the grapes of an older vineyard and "crafting several micro-fermentations." He brought that learning back to his Calvestra vineyard in the El Terrarazo D.O.P, where he grafted Merseguera onto 40-year-old Bobal rootstock in a block situated at 900 meters above sea, an altitude at which Bobal could not ripen appropriately. This white blend of 65% Merseguera, 24% Viognier and 11% Malvasia has just as much charm and personality, showcasing an intoxicating fragrance of lychee, jasmine, gardenia and orange blossom reminiscent of a tropical garden. As it is aged in stainless steel, there is no oak to mask the fresh floral and fruit flavors found on the palate, and the winemaker keeps the juice in contact with its lees (spent yeast cells) in order to impart a creamy texture to the wine. While the Viognier and Malvasia give the wine its fleshy, unctuous character and introduce notes of white peach, quince, honey and more of that orange blossom on the palate, the Merseguera provides a juicy, balancing acidity, and tightens the reins on this otherwise opulent blend. All in all, this is an intriguing, expertly crafted wine that feels relatively light and crisp despite its rich fruit and floral qualities; we think it would go great alongside a yellow chicken curry or seafood paella!

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