Monday, May 19, 2014

Bonny Doon Vineyard Albariño Central Coast 2013

Spring is taking its dear, sweet time about settling in this year.  Earlier this month I was still noticing baseball umpires wearing heavy jackets and gloves in Chicago.  Of course, in Chicago that might be considered routine.  The coldest baseball game I ever attended was in Chicago on Memorial Day weekend.  My eternal gratitude goes out to the nice folks who sat next to me.  They brought an extra blanket.  And to the hot chocolate machine.  It was way too cold for a beer.

Here in Los Angeles, spring comes and goes all year long.  Summer has already started trying to crowd its way in.  The tourists in rented convertibles are starting to look like they aren’t freezing with the top down.  Whether your spring is swinging, or you need some help really feeling it, an Albrariño just might do the trick.

Randall Grahm’s Bonny Doon Vineyard has a recently released Albariño that is perfect for spring, and several other seasons, too.

Yes, the iconic “Rhône Ranger” also works his magic with the Iberian grape variety.  To hear him describe his minimal intervention winemaking, though, you get the impression there’s no magic involved.  You  may even think he simply throws some grapes in a tub, sits doon, waits a while and puts on a screw cap.  That’s not true, though.  Mr. Grahm has a machine which puts on the screw caps.

The Bonny Doon website offers a brief intro to Albariño:  “Until 1989 Albariño was one of the rarest wine varieties in the world, rarely glimpsed outside the Iberian Peninsula. Since that time, this light yet vibrant white grape has become a darling of wine geeks worldwide with its preternatural ability to pair with all types of seafood, cheese and salty dishes.”

The grapes for the 2013 Bonny Doon Albariño are Central Coast fruit, all Albariño.  73% of the grapes were grown in Kristy Vineyard in the Salinas Valley while the other 27% are from Edna Valley’s Jespersen Ranch.  Grahm notes that both sites are windy and cool during the summer.

The wine’s alcohol content of 13.2% makes it a perfect choice for spring and summer refreshment.  To paraphrase the brewer’s old ad copy, it’s a great wine for "when you’re having more than one."  Production was 1,592 cases and the wine retails for $18.

Pale straw in color with just a hint of green tint, the wine looks slightly frizzante in the glass.  A ring of small bubbles cling to the rim.  One sniff brings springtime into full focus.  A floral note of hibiscus mingles with peaches, pears and citrus mineral notes.  The palate shows some very nice mineral-laden salinity riding herd over the peach and lemon peel flavors.  There’s boat load of acidity, so the wine is completely refreshing.  It's also a great food wine.  Look for some Thai food or shellfish to make it really sing.

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