2014 Alejando Fernandez Alejairén Blanco, La Mancha, Spain
Alejairén is the first white wine ever made by Alejandro Fermandez’ Grupo Pesquera.
It is made from 100% Airén grapes grown at Alejandro Fernández’s La Mancha bodega, El Vínculo in its Paraje de la Golosa vineyard, which is planted with hundred-year-old vines on sandy soils.
Alejairén gets its name from combining the owner’s first name “Alejandro” with the name of the typical La Mancha grape variety “Airén” it is made from.
The wine was aged in oak wine barrels for a surprisingly-long 24 months.
This Spanish white wine comes in a pretty intense yellow color with brown/golden hues making it look quite unusual for a relatively young wine. It does indeed look more like a 10-year-old white rather than a 3-year old one!
The nose however, feels quite fresh and lemony, ripe lemon (or is it lemon marmalade?) dominate the profile. It smells nutty and oily too, much like macadamias, and delicately waxy.
It is also somewhat floral, making it feel very elegant. Bee wax and subtle honey aromas. Again, it is unusual to smell at, but fine and intriguing, and honestly tempting to my nose. You just want to dig in and find out whether it tastes as good as it smells!?!
And the short answer is… YES!
If you like oaky flavors this is though…
Put the wine in your mouth, and you’ll be struck by its oily texture coating your palate, as well as its silky/velvety quality, obviously provided by fine oak tannins.
It is dry with crisp acidity highlighting the ripe lemon flavors. More importantly, it is very nutty, plenty of oaky hazelnut as well as vanilla confirm the impression that a wealth of oak must have gone into its making.
But the citrus fruit flavors, elegant sweet spices, the floral honey notes live together in a lively and powerful harmony, bursting and dancing on the palate with both strength and finesse.
Very surprising, but actually excellent, if you enjoy good fruit married to wealth of oaky tones, which I have to admit I thoroughly do!
Delicate phenolics and a saline feel to the finish give it a savory and mineral feel, with layered oaky and spicy flavors lingering on the palate for a long while.
An unusual white wine, oaky and somewhat unusually-evolved and waxy for a relatively young wine.
But these characteristics, because the wine is elegant and complex, floral and fruity, spicy and nutty all at the same type, and more importantly very balanced, make of the Alejairén a rare, if not unique tasting experience that should be enjoyable to many.
A wine to experience then, if only for its uniqueness, and find out whether you like it! If you do, you might as well like it very much.