Grape Varieties Y-Z Zalema

Zalema Wine

Zalema is a white-wine variety native to southern Spain. It is the principal grape of Condado de Huelva in Andalucia, where it makes up more than 80 percent of total plantings.

Zalema is the only variety permitted in the youthful Vino Blanco Joven of Condado de Huelva and is one of four grapes allowed in the aged Vino Blanco Viejo.

Condado de Huelva Vino Blanco Joven wines are light yellow through to straw yellow, with a floral and fruity nose reminiscent of apples. On the palate, dry joven Zalema wines are ideally light and fresh, with soft yet evident acidity and green-apple and fresh-herb flavors.

Zalema viejo wines are matured in oak for a minimum of three years before being released. Compared to their joven counterparts, the fortified viejo wines are much fuller on the palate and higher in alcohol – up to 22 percent. Viejo wines are a darker mahogany color than the joven style and their fragrance is much more powerful, with secondary aromas from the oak – such as vanilla, caramel and dried fruits – becoming apparent.

On the palate, Zalema viejos should be velvety, round and full bodied, with a long, lingering finish. Zalema wine may be made in either a dry or off-dry style. Typical aromas include toffee and toast. Viejo wines may be a blend of Zalema and other permitted varieties such as Listan de Huelva, Palomino Fino and Garrido Fino.

Overall, the variety is in decline as its vines are slowly replaced by higher-quality varieties such as Palomino Fino. There are very few, if any, Zalema plantings outside of Spain.

Synonyms include: Ignoblis, Perruna, Salemo, Torrontes de Montilla.

Food matches for Zalema wines include:

  • Andalusia shrimp and spring onion fritters
  • Chicken and paprika stew
  • Pork and apple sausages
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