The viura grape, also known as macabeo, doesn't have much of a reputation in this country, although it is the dominant grape in many sparkling Spanish cavas. Viura also dominates in the 2010 Vega Sindoa blend (25 percent chardonnay added for body), a light and refreshing white wine made from grapes grown in Valdizarbe, the northernmost wine-growing region of Navarra and an important crossroads for pilgrims following the Way of St. James. It retails for about $9 at wine-savvy markets and wine shops.
It is worth a wine drinker's time to get acquainted with viura. In this blend it delivers a heady combination of ripe pear and meadow grasses on the nose and delivers plenty more pear on the tongue, delightfully set off by green apple, white pepper and a surprising dash of butterscotch. A light note of juicy lime takes a bow at the tail end of a crisp, clean finish.
This wine is a welcome addition to our stable of cooling summer wines, serving nicely as aperitif or sundowner and pairing playfully with a range of warm-weather lunch and late-supper stalwarts, from cold roast chicken to ceviche.
By Colette and John Bancroft. She is the Times' book editor, and he is a freelance writer specializing in food, wine and travel. For an index and archive of reviews, go to pictograph.com.