Wine Club: Spain's Spirit of Resistance May Be Waning, but Its Wines Still Impress

By Scruton, Roger | New Statesman (1996), August 23, 2004 | Go to article overview

Wine Club: Spain's Spirit of Resistance May Be Waning, but Its Wines Still Impress


Scruton, Roger, New Statesman (1996)


It is more than 80 years since Ortega y Gasset wrote La Espana Invertebrada, foretelling the loss of virtue that Orwell saw, but Hemingway didn't, in the civil war. Spain recovered some of its spirit in recent times, though not enough to say no to those appalling British tourists. But it seems finally to be losing its sense of purpose--or, rather, the sublime sense of purposelessness that made Spain a byword for creative indolence. The country is now home to multinational banks, modernist buildings and public fun. Even in those matters in which Spaniards could be relied upon to cock a snook at liberal orthodoxy--the pomp of the Tridentine Church, the death-defying splendour of the torero, the celebration in song and dance of the man-woman divide--the spirit of resistance is waning. Soon there will be no more snooks to cock, and Spain will be just like everywhere else, only hotter.

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

Still, there is the wine, and the three Spanish bottles on offer this month from Corney & Barrow show that snooks remain in the bodegas. Particularly impressive is the white from Rueda, a region in the baked heart of the country, where a gravel-clay soil helps to freshen up the Verdejo and Viura grapes. This wine, with its crisp acidity and mineral base, gave real zest to a muggy summer evening. If you associate Spanish whites with the oily amber heavyweights from Rioja, you will be astonished at this lithe enchantress. …

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