One of the difficulties in writing about wine is comparisons. When someone describes a wine, and I’m guilty of this as well, they too often look for something to compare it to. This happens because wine writers, and especially in the U.S., have to find a way to adjust the wine they’re writing about to a U.S. drinker’s frame of reference. Hence you’ll see wines that taste nothing like cabernet sauvignon being compared to cabernet, since that’s all we know in this country.
This approach does a tremendous disservice to wines made with unfamiliar grapes from less familiar parts of the world. Case in point is the Castilla (about $14, purchased, available at Central Market), with is a Spanish white wine made with the verdejo grape. The wine is usually compared to sauvignon blanc, when it actually has very little in common with sauvignon blanc.
Yes, each has a citrus flavor, but that’s about it. The Castilla is a much richer, fuller wine, and the finish is almost oak-like (though it doesn’t have any oak aging). The citrus is just one part of its appeal; for most inexpensive sauvignon blancs, citrus is the only appeal. The Castilla is far more complex than most sauvignon blanc at this price, and it pairs with a wider variety of food. In this, it’s an incredible food wine, as all true Spanish wines appear to be.