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What our expert thought of Cucú (Cantaba La Rana), Verdejo




the tasting

The Tasting


In the glass this is a lovely greeny-gold.  It’s quite a deep colour for a young dry white, probably as a result of the overnight skin contact the wine underwent before fermentation.  Swirling reveals prominent legs, suggesting plenty of extract as well as the highish 13.5% alcohol.
 
It has a powerful nose of gooseberries and cut grass, along with nettles and fresh green herbs.  There’s lemony citrus too, but despite all the greenery the scents are really ripe.  Think lemon and honey, or gooseberry jam.
 
The sweetness of the nose makes it rather a surprise that the palate is fully dry, with refreshing acidity you can feel in your mouth corners.  Then the wine expands, filling the mouth with concentrated citrus peel flavours: orange, grapefruit and lemon.  This is a big wine with some real weight to it.  Ripe apricot adds depth to all the citrus peel.
 
The big finish is stony but again ripe, with spicy warmth and a pithy, mouthcoating texture that is probably from lees aging.  Those gooseberries from the nose reappear, nicely bookending the experience.  Except that it doesn’t want to end; the finish just keeps going!


Assessment


I think this is delicious!  It starts out like a riper, more summer-scented version of Sauvignon Blanc but then develops an apricotty depth and textural weight more akin to a white Châteaneuf.  The citrus peel flavours stop it from getting too heavy, keeping it zingy and focussed.
 
I’m reminded of the fabulous Louro Godello we had in March, which had a similar combination of freshness and ripeness, honeyed nose backed by orangy citrus, full body and long spicy mineral finish.  Interestingly, DNA testing has shown that Godello and Verdejo are siblings, but then so are Chenin Blanc and Sauvignon Blanc.  The similarities are perhaps more due to the shared continental climate, high altitude vineyards, and the production methods employed: wild yeasts, lees aging and very subtle use of oak.
 
This wine isn’t perhaps as complex as the Louro, but it’s more immediately enjoyable.  It smells of sunshine and early summer, and has “drink me now” written all over it.



Tasting notes

Appearance
clear medium+ greeny-gold, strong legs
Nose

Intensity medium+

Aromas green fruit (gooseberry), vegetal (cut grass, nettles), fresh green herbs, ripe citrus (lemon), honey

Development developing
Palate

Sweetness dry

Acidity medium+

Body full

Intensity medium+, concentrated

Flavours citrus peel (orange, grapefruit, lemon), stone fruit (apricot)
Finish

Length long, textured

Flavours spicy warmth, green fruit (gooseberry), mineral/lees (citrus pith, stones)
Other notes
Delicious & summer-scented. Sauv Blanc on steroids, with hints of white CNdP on palate. Concentration, freshness & ripeness. No reduction. Ready now.


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