Monopole: A Mostly Monotonous Macabeo 11/20/11

As a Jew, I faced many challenges growing up in the predominantly Jewish suburb of my childhood. The others mocked my meager middle-upper-middle class status, themselves fortunate enough to have been born members of the upper-upper-middle class elite. I was seldom invited to play Debtors and Creditors (the semitic equivalent of Cowboys and Indians), and by high school I found myself left in the dust when it came to all the usual preoccupations of adolescence, like sex, and usury.

But there was always one time of the year when we all came together in solidarity: the Christmas season, which of course to us meant that it was the Channukah season (or had recently been the Channukah season – I never did get the hang of that loony Hebrew calendar).

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I’m sorry, lunar calendar.


Channukah supposedly commemorates a time when, after the destruction of a temple or something, the Hebrews only had enough oil stashed away to burn for one day, but then it burned for eight days. But there are three things you may not know about Channukah, things which I will be sharing with you shortly. First, the holiday isn’t that big a deal religiously; it only achieved such great cultural prominence when Jewish parents realized they needed a way to make their children stop crying all December. Second, Channukah was not originally a tale about the miracle of energy efficiency, but rather a brutal military victory of the Hebrews over the Greeks, courtesy of a little family called the Macabees. And third, the wine I’m discussing today is neither an Israeli wine, nor do I intend to drink it during Channukah; but it was produced from a grape called Macabeo, which sure does sound a lot like “Macabee,” doesn’t it?

The latest grape chosen by my #Bteam Twitter tasting group, Macabeo is also known as Viura, and grows primarily in Spain, where it’s used in White Rioja. This bottle, the Cune Monopole 2010 Rioja Blanco cost me $15 at the PA state store I know and love, and can walk to. And if you’re wondering why I made such a long Channukah digression before I even mentioned the wine, well, it’s not as though there were any other approach I could’ve taken to reviewing Monopole.

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Shut up.


nullAnyway, in the glass this was a pale, clear straw color – nothing surprising there. On the nose it gave off aromas of white peach, and that was pretty much it, although there may have been some hints of flowers too. The palate told the same story: peaches (white ones, in case you’ve forgotten). The wine was nicely balanced, with bright acidity that wasn’t overpowering, along with decent fruit and heat to balance it out. I decided to pair it with a bite of raw shallot, and it was certainly a lot less unpleasant than I’d expected it to be.

This seems to have been the Viura/Macabeo of choice for most of the #Bteam participants, but that had more to do with its being the only one available than anything else. I would’ve much preferred the Macabeo @PNrieslingfan enjoyed, which came from 2006, and was therefore a lot more interesting than mine. He informed me that if I wanted to try the best Viura, I needed to go with the Lopez y Heredia Gravonia Blanco, of which 2003 is the current vintage.

I’d love to try that one, but this one wasn’t bad, just uncomplex. I award it thumbs up, but I probably won’t be drinking it this Channukah.

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Well you can’t really drink those, but, sure.

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