It wasn’t just the label that made me buy this wine, although I was so intrigued by both its design and the name – The Cup & Rings (available from Majestic, £9.99) – that I had to pick it up. I suppose that counts as a victory for the marketing team! But, when I looked more closely, I realised this was a wine I should try.
The label showed it was made from one of Spain’s best native grape varieties for white wines, Albariño, grown in the ideal cool climate of Galicia in the far north-western region of the country. Then there were the words ‘Sobre lias’; this is a winemaking technique that involves leaving the wine on the dead yeast cells (the ‘lees’ in English, ‘lias’ in Spanish) for a period of time after the fermentation has finished. The aim of this is to add a certain depth of flavour to the wine and often to create an attractive savoury character. In this case, the period of ageing on the lees was 2 full years – longer than I’d normally expect, but clearly promising a wine with some complexity.
The winemaker was obviously pleased with his creation as there was his signature on the label: Norrel Robertson is a Master of Wine who has been making wine in Spain since 2003, although he is a Scot by birth, hence his local nickname which translates as the ‘Flying Scotsman’.
On opening the bottle, the wine was as good as I’d hoped for: delightfully refreshing, rich and complex with a lovely floral character and ripe pear flavours – rather than the stone fruits I often associate with Albariño. But there was also an almost salty tang about it – not surprising, I suppose, given how close to the sea many of the vineyards are in this part of the world.
And the name ‘Cup and Rings’? It is, apparently, an ancient Celtic symbol found in prehistoric rock carvings across Europe, especially in both Galicia and Scotland. So, very appropriate for a Scot working in Galicia but also a great way to encourage curious customers like me to buy!