Tapas & White Rioja
Perfect Wine Match
Rioja is probably best known as a red-wine region, but its whites are almost always better values. Made primarily from the Viura grape (sometimes called Macabeo), white Riojas are noteworthy for their fresh citrus and mineral flavors. Although they can be aged for a decade or more, they are so appealing in their youth, there's really no reason to wait. That is certainly true of the 2001 Monopole from CUNE ($11). Full of grapefruit and mineral notes balanced by a whisper of oak, this versatile white pairs beautifully with a wide range of tapas dishes--from corn-custard-stuffed chile peppers to Serrano ham and saffron shrimp. The affordable 2001 Bodegas Montecillo Blanco ($8) is another good choice, marked by crisp apple flavors, lively acidity and hints of minerals and spice.