Castell D' Age (Penedes, Spain)'s Xarel-Lo is a still white wine mad from the premiere grape used in Cava, Spain's primary sparkling wine. Indeed, Castell D' Age is a producer of excellent Cava.
This is a tart, nicely acidic wine with medium/medium full body with citrus fruit and green apples. Xarel-lo can have herbal characteristics but I did not really get that here although there is a hint of something floral in the wine.
This wine did call to mind how I have repeatedly heard that in Cava production, Xarel-lo is the "Chardonnay." That is to say the highest quality grape. I could quibble with this given the wonderful Viura/Macabeo wines I've had but for the moment let's run with the notion.
In part I suggest this because this wine calls to mind moderately priced cold weather Chardonnays which isn't what I've had in past versions of Xarel-Lo wines. There isn't opulence here. There is Malic acid and lemon zest. It is a wine that has the power and acidity to cut through richer foods but also pleasant enough to drink on its own.
I picked this not necessarily to talk about it but to talk about Xarel-Lo in
general. This isn't a rare grape. It is, in fact, widely grown in Southern Spain. Several sources say that around 20,000 acres of the grape are grown in Spain. Yet, despite its being regarded as a high quality grape, it isn't on the shelves of every wine shop.
One reason here is that a lot of Xarel-Lo winds up in Cava. Another is probably because we tend to drink the tried and true. Yet, with Xarel-Lo, even those wedded to wine orthodoxy can find a patron of the grape. So search it out. There are plenty of good examples.