2015 Telmo Rodriguez, Molino Real, Mountain Blanco, Sierras de Malaga D.O., Spain.
What an interesting and beautiful aged white wine from southern Spain that benefits from high elevation vineyards, set on mineral transmitting slatey calcareous soils and insanely low yields to produce what may just be one of the most intriguing dry Muscat wines in the world. Telmo Rodriguez, one of Spain’s greatest winemakers, who is most famous for his work at his family’s historic Remelluri estate in Rioja, does many fascinating regional wines from lesser known areas and who has an exceptional touch with white grapes as he again proves here with this Molino Real wine made from stainless fermented and aged 100% Moscatel de Alejandría, the local name for Muscat, which is also known as Zibbibo in Sicily, which is both exceptionally aromatic, lightly earthy and textural, thrilling the senses. The medium bodied palate which is remarkably fresh, considering the maturity and the grapes natural character that leans toward sweetness, it is bone dry and flinty with the soils really shining through in this wine that opens up to reveal pretty florals, jasmine and seeped roses along with smooth layers of burnt citrus, white peach and a touch of apple fruit. There is a hint of waxiness and a long persistent finish that is uncommon in this grape, this Mountain Blanc highlights Telmo’s talents and insight into the terroir here, this wine combines Riesling like flintiness and a white Rhone’s warm Mediterranean width, depth and creaminess (oily) of mouth feel. The vines are bush trained and extremely steep, up at 350 to 100 meters above sea level to beat the hot almost African like climate below these hillsides and where they grow raisins!

Telmo Rodriguez makes some compelling wines, and as I mentioned he really does fabulously well with white varietals from crisp Verdejo in his Basa Rueda to his Remelluri Rioja Blanco, which is made from a dozen or so grapes, which he is coy about identifying, though may include some unexpected varietals for the region, regardless it is one of the most coveted of Spain’s white wines. Rodriguez searches out remote locations and these lesser known sites to apply his gifts and we are lucky to celebrate the results, with this wine being a stunning example that transcends grape and perceptions, taking Muscat to a whole new level and making it his own expression. I love dry Muscat from very few producers, including a couple from Alsace, Arianna Occhipinti’s Zibbibo, along with her uncle’s Giusto’s COS version, both from Vittoria in Sicily, as well as Mueller-Catoir’s Muskateller from the Platz region of Germany, all of which are wildly different in form and style. Most often Muscat is done in sweet versions, that can be very simple like Moscato, to incredible age worthy stickies from Chambers, Australia’s famous producer of Rutherglen fortified muscat, and France’s Muscat de Rivesaltes, which like Port can be cellared for 50 plus years. Malaga is also known for the sweet versions mainly, which makes this pale gold hued wine very unique and distinct, again it is an unexpected treat to enjoy with Tapas and or sea foods, in particular I see this going great with scallop or prawn dishes. Typically Telmo uses multiple picking passes to craft these wines and is flexible depending on the vintage to use either old oak and or stainless, as this one, as mentioned sees exclusively, but always uses native yeasts and lees aging, anywhere from 9 months to 20 months with these striking Molino Real bottlings.
($28 Est.) 92 Points, grapelive

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