Wine of the week: A rare and wondrous enchantress

2011 Picarana, Spain

2011 Picarana, Bodega Marañones, Madrid, Spain (around £15.50, Butlers Wine Cellar, 01273-698724; Scarlet Wines, 01736-753696; Noel Young, 01223-566744; Bacchanalia, 020-7429 3253; The Fox’s Knocker, 020-7729 0538).

I was dining at the Soho institution Andrew Edmunds and its eponymous owner poured me a glass of wine ‘blind’ and challenged me to name the grape. I failed.

I’m not familiar with the albillo grape, nor was I aware that fine wine was made in the Madrid environs. How could the grape deal with the heat? The answer is old vines, early ripening and high altitude – fascinating.

The flavour of this enchantress reminds me of top class viognier, manseng and chenin blanc all rolled into one. I ear-marked Picarana for you and set about finding retailers: no surprise that it is an eclectic bunch of artisans who follow wines such as this one.

Do support them – they are the lifeblood of the wine trade just as Andrew E is the beating heart of the Soho wine community.

The wine is a beauty and follows a natural, low sulphur vinification with gentle oak, all guided by young wine necromancer Fer Garcia. It is terrific value and a must-buy for those with a thirst for the rare and wondrous.

• Matthew Jukes is a winner of the International Wine & Spirit Competition’s Communicator of the Year (www.matthewjukes.com).

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