How Good is Alejandro Fernandez Alejairén White Wine?
Wine Review of 2015 Grupo Pesquera Alejandro Fernandez Alejairén Airén Blanco, La Mancha, Spain
Score: 91/100 points
I first discovered and tasted Alejairén last year, with the vintage 2014. And God was I surprised, and happily so. Read my candid surprised comments on that vintage with the 2014 Alejairén wine review.
I was excited to review the newest release of Alejairén and to find out whether it lived to my first experience and my expectations for what I had found was a great bold white wine.
The Wine’s Background Info
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.
Overall Tasting Impressions
Yes, 2015 Alejairén lived up to my expectations (after tasting vintage 2014, again find my notes written about it then here). It delivered an unashamed oaky and waxy style of white wine, still built with a distinctive level of concentration, and a true authentic fruit expression, for those careful-enough to pay attention.
Yes, you’d have to enjoy oak to enjoy Alejairén, no arguing there!
But if you do, you’ll find much more to fall for, minerality, tropical fruit expression, a savory food-friendly salivating saltiness.
A wine built for ageing a little, give it 2-3 years for oak and wine to come together more, and develop further complexity together.
Full Tasting Notes
Alejairén comes in a very intense golden-yellow color, unusual for a white wine with such an amber hue rarely seen in young white. Clearly the wine makes a statement: this is an evolved wine even if it’s young, and generously aged in barrel at that!
The nose goes telling the same story, elaborating on it with dominant notes of beeswax, coconut and vanilla from the oak, with just hints of lemon to represent the fruit. It’s punchy on the oaky and oxidative style (not oxidized, there is a clear difference), as well as discrete on the primary fruit side.
The palate though, puts it all together.
This is a dry and mineral white, salivating from a crisp and fresh acidity, with silky slightly bitter phenolics coating your palate with a slight bitterness like the one you’d experience in caramel (a tasty enjoyable one), together with somewhat of the velvety feel of peach skin to the taste buds!
The overall balance is the outstanding feature here, although perhaps for the educated palates only.
It is dry and mineral, as described above, somewhat sour and salty, but also gorgeously oily, with a burst of tropical mango and ripe pineapple flavors from the mid-palate on.
The finish explodes in dominant American oak aftertastes, layers of mineral smokiness, a wealth of coconut oil, generous vanilla and toasted nuts. Somewhat reminiscent of an American Bourbon whisky, but finer and clearly less in-your-face. Just the good side of it, delivered with a relative elegance only wine can provide.
Don’t serve this too chilled, not too cold a wine serving temperature, from 12 degrees Celsius upwards for sure (54 Fahrenheit). And give the bottle time to open up. I’d say chill a little in a (wine) fridge, then decant half an hour before serving allowing the wine to warm up slightly.