Monday, September 27, 2021

Lovely Albariño Wine

Albariño wines are some of the mainstays of the Spanish wine industry, and anyone who likes a good white wine should be on board already.  Albariño is not only a delicious white wine on its own, but it is one of the more food-friendly grapes you’ll find.  In fact, Albariño seems to crave a food pairing so it can show its best, especially with seafood.  

The wines which were made available for an online virtual tasting event were produced in the Rías Baixas region of Spain, up in the northwest corner of the country, the place that Albariño calls home.  I was given three of them for sampling.

Granbazán Étiqueta Verde Albariño 2020

Etiqueta Verde - Green Label - is Granbazán's entry level Albariño.  Importer Skurnik Wines explains that the Verde was made from a combination of free-run and lightly pressed juice.  The wine was fermented with indigenous yeasts in a tank, where it aged on its lees for four months.  

This Rías Baixas Albariño is pale yellow in the glass.  The nose is like a bouquet of flowers, with some elegant citrus notes to hold them together.  Lemon, lime and orange are all here for the smelling.  The palate sings of citrus and apples and has an acidity that is zippy enough for oysters.  The finish shows a wonderful salinity which puts me in mind of the ocean.

Pazo das Bruxas Albariño

The Miguel Torres family asserts that their wine is partly the result of legendary Galician witches, who cast spells to get the vines to produce well.  Now, that's a back story.  There is even a picture of the witches - artist's conception, I'm guessing - on the label.

The Pazo das Bruxas Albariño is produced largely with grapes from the O'Rosal area, combined with some from the Salnés Valley.  The winery says that both areas are known for their Atlantic climates, influenced by the nearby ocean.

The wine is made in stainless steel tanks, with no oak.  Alcohol resides at 12.5% abv and it’s usually sold for just under $20.

This wine has a rich yellow-green tint.  On the nose I thought I smelled some oak, but I was mistaken.  It's all steel.  There is an overriding salinity that mutes the floral, apricot and citrus aspects a bit.  The palate carries that salinity as well.  That, plus a racy acidity, makes me want some oysters with it.

Leira Pondal Albariño

The Pondal winery is in the second generation of turning Albariño grapes into wine.  They also grow Treixadura, Caiño Blanco and Loureira grapes on the estate.

The winery states that the grapes selected for the 2020 Leira Pondal come from vineyards in El Rañado, Torre and El Alto - higher altitude vineyards with less humidity, more ventilation and a greater temperature variation between day and night.  This all allows for a wine with greater aromatic intensity and acidity.   The alcohol level rests comfortably at 13% abv and the retail price is around $18.

This wine brings the floral on the nose, as well as a strong mineral aspect.  The citrus notes include lime, lemon, orange and even a little grapefruit.  The acidity is fairly strong and the finish is lengthy.  

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