Wine of the week: Bodegas Virgen del Aguila Las Valles 2015

Las VallesWhat’s the best way to use Spanish chardonnay? As a blending grape, as in the $10 Hall of Fame worthy Les Valles

Spanish chardonnay is wine’s version of an oxymoron, the terms like military intelligence and Microsoft Works that are contradictions in themselves. So what’s the Les Valles – made with Spanish chardonnay – doing as the wine of the week?

It’s because the Les Valles ($10, purchased, 12%) uses chardonnay as a blending grape, which is about the only way Spanish chardonnay should be used. In this white wine, a little chardonnay is combined with viura, a traditional Spanish grape, to make a wine that is better than it would be as either of the two varietals.

The chardonnay softens the viura, which can be a very lemony grape, and makes the wine richer and more about white fruit than if it was just made with viura. But the viura lends its crispness and a floral aroma, and the combination is one of those great cheap wines that are my reason for being.

Highly recommended, and a candidate for the 2018 $10 Hall of Fame. Drink this chilled on its own or with roasted chicken or turkey.

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