The Monopole Blanco is a top quality, $10 Spanish white; a welcome relief for everyone who is tired of paying $16 for badly-made chardonnay.
The improvement in the quality of Spanish whites are one of the best things to ever happen to cheap wine, and a godsend for everyone who is tired of paying $16 for badly-made chardonnay.
Few Spanish whites demonstrate this improvement better than the Monopole Blanco ($10, purchased, 13%), made by a 119-year Spanish company known by its initials, CVNE. When I started doing this, Spanish whites were poorly made, brandyish and almost brownish, and no one in Spain really cared. Their attention was focused on reds, and especially if the reds came from Rioja, as this white does.
That attitude changed in the late 1990s, and today, some Spanish whites, like albarino, are even hip and with it. Better yet, wines like the Monopole offer consistent quality and value without the hip and with it prices. It’s made with viura (also known as macabeo, used in cava), and probably sits somewhere between viognier and chardonnay – a fuller-bodied wine with not quite ripe stone fruit flavors and an almost floral aroma. Still, it’s quite fresh, though not particularly zesty or tart. In this, call it the anti-albarino.
Pair the Monopole with chicken breasts or grilled fish served with simple pan sauce, as well as salads and cheese courses.