Yes. You heard me… not Chardonnay (which is a not-so-shabby number deux). It’s a grape you think you haven’t met. Well, I won’t throw stones. I had to do some research. Here’s what I found out from the folks over at Wine Geeks:
“The most widely planted white grape in the world, Airén owes its popularity more to its high productivity and resistence to drought than to any distinguishing flavors or aromas. An extremely vigorous grape, Airén grows in almost every wine producing region in the world. It is quite resistant to heat and lack of water, and will adapt to almost any soil type. Airén grows very well as a bush vine, never reaching higher than a foot off of the ground. It also works well on the trellis, with farmers using its leafy canopy to protect other crops from the scorching sun. It has very neutral aromas and flavors, with hints of citrus, green apples and nuts. Airén is best consumed as fresh as possible.
Airén is widely planted in the La Mancha region of Spain. New wine-making techniques of stainless steel and cold-soak fermentation have made it a little more palatable, but most is still used as either a blending grape to lighten heavy reds or in the production of Brandy de Jerez. Airén is also refermented for industrial purposes.”
Another admission: I myself am ready for a glass of wine. I’m going Rhône red tonight. What are you drinking?