Showing posts with label Galicia. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Galicia. Show all posts

Thursday, August 1, 2019

Spain Rescues White Godello Grape

The Valdeorras region in Galicia was named by the Romans, who mined a lot of gold there.  After they had finished their mining days, they planted grapevines in the area.  The 2017 Pagos del Galir Godello is a full varietal wine made from a reclaimed grape.  Godello was figured to be native to Valdeorras before DNA testing showed its Portuguese roots.  The grape was re-introduced to the region during the 1970s.

The white Godello grape, writes Eric Asimov, has been "rescued" by Spain, particularly the area of Valdeorras, in Galicia.  Plantings of the grape have risen markedly in recent years, and its grapefruit-tinged flavor profile and wonderful acidity make it a great wine to pair with food, especially summer salads, seafood or even sweet corn tamales.

2017 was one of the DO's shortest vintages on record, and was affected by April frosts.  The wine rested on its lees - spent yeast cells - for five months before bottling.  Alcohol is moderate at 13.5% abv and it sells for $17.

This was my first experience with the Iberian Godello grape.  I expected something quite fruity from this wine, but was surprised to find a nose of lanolin, sage and a savory nuttiness.  The palate is just as intriguing, with savory herbs and a distant grapefruit flavor in the background.


Follow Randy Fuller on Twitter

Friday, July 5, 2019

Spanish Red To Drink Quickly

The 2016 Pagos de Galir Mencia is made in the Spanish region of Valdeorras from 100% Mencia grapes. Mencia is the main red grape in the DO, which is in Galicia's Ourense province in the northwestern part of the country.  The Romans mined for gold in the area, then planted grapevines when they felt they had gotten all the precious metal out of the earth.

The 2016 harvest was down by nearly a third from the previous year, thanks to spring rains, hot temperatures and summer hail. The wine spent six months aging in American and French oak barrels, and another six in the cellar.  Alcohol sits at 13.5% abv and the wine retails for a reasonable $17.

Mencia grapes once produced a relatively light and fragrant wine, but in recent years winemakers have been getting much more concentration.  In fact, this wine is downright inky. 

Upon opening, this Spanish wine has a tight nose that offers only a whiff of red fruit and bit of spice.  After breathing for awhile, things loosen up considerably.  Six months barrel aging didn't take over the fruit.  There are plenty of those Mencía grapes to smell.  Plenty to taste, too, although the oak spice comes through a tad stronger on the palate.  Tannins are firm initially, and the wine feels fresh and young in the mouth.  However, the structure softens quite a bit after a couple of hours in the glass.


Follow Randy Fuller on Twitter

Friday, May 18, 2018

Albariño: Contes De Albarei

Albariño is a lovely white wine grape that is predominant in Spain's northwest corner.  It's the reason they get out of bed every day in the Rias Baixas region of Galicia.  Snooth staged an online virtual tasting session featuring Albariño wines from Rias Baixas, and I was lucky enough to be invited.

The winery known as Condes de Albarei is located in Castrelo, a little town in the province of Ourense.  The winery was founded in 1988 by a group of Salnés Valley growers who wanted to concentrate on Albariño.  They picked a great place to do it, as the valley is reportedly the birthplace of the grape.  Those growers still own and run the place, so much into their work that they don't appear to have a website.

The estate vineyards cover more than 700 acres with mountains all around and the Umia River running through.  Alcohol in the wine is customary for the area, around 13.5% abv, and it sells for $14 or less online.

The Condes de Albarei Albariño wine is golden in the glass and smells of apricots and flowers.  The citrus comes across as a mix of lemon and tangerine.  On the palate, it's one of the more sippable Albariños I've tasted from the region.  The acidity is fresh but doesn't rip off one's tongue.  Flavors of Granny Smith apples and Meyer lemons come forward, along with some other fruits that may have been named after people.  It's an earthy drink that lasts a while on the finish.


Follow Randy Fuller on Twittter

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Albariño: Bodega Fillaboa

There's a Snooth virtual wine tasting coming up today that features Albariño wines from Spain's Rias Baixas region of Galicia.  I'm tasting nearly a dozen different Albariños for that reason - not because it's spring, or because it's almost summer, or because I love Albariño.  Although those are all reason enough.

The Fillaboa website leads with, "Creating is not an easy task when surrounded by so much noise."  That's how Bodega Fillaboa's owner decided to go for the peace and quiet of the Rias Baixas land where the 70-hectare estate is located in Salvatierra de Miño.  The "good daughter" referred to in the Galician name sits set off from its surroundings by an ancient stone bridge and stands as one of the oldest and biggest estates in Pontevedra.  The bodega is only 150 feet from the Portuguese border and 22 miles from the Atlantic Ocean.  They also make three spirits, or aguardientes, from their Albariño grapes.

The 2016 spring was rainy and the summer was the hottest and driest in the previous 50 years.  Alcohol in this wine is restrained, as is customary in the region, at 12.5% abv.  If this Albariño is an indication, the creating is very good at Fillaboa.

The Fillaboa Albariño 2016 has a bit more golden tint than usual, and bit more earthiness on the nose.  There’s still a bouquet of flowers to smell, along with apples and citrus.  On the palate there's a soft salinity that goes along with an almost racy acidity.  Green apples and limes come forth and linger on the finish. 


Monday, May 14, 2018

Albariño: Pazo Señorans

There's a Snooth virtual wine tasting coming up on Wednesday that involves Albariño wines from Spain's Rias Baixas region of Galicia.  I'm tasting nearly a dozen different Albariños for that reason - not because it's spring, or because it’s almost summer, or because I love Albariño.  Although each of those reasons would have been enough to convince me.

The Rias Baixas Denomination of Origin was established in 1980, specifically for the Albariño grape.  Of course they had been making wine in the region for centuries before.  The winery credits 12th-century monks for providing inspiration to this day.  About a dozen grapes are permitted for making wine.

The winery is a former Galician ancestral country home (pazo) in the village of Señoráns, but it's not known which was named for which.  The vineyard's soil is largely broken down granite, which lends a strong mineral sensibility to the vines.  In addition to its line of Albariño wines, the bodega also features a distillery where they make a sort of Albariño brandy called aguardientes.  One variety is brilliantly golden while the other is clear.  Both are 100% Albariño, the golden one is made with skin contact, anise and cilantro seeds.  I did not taste them, but they sound quite interesting.

The wine is made in stainless steel tanks and alcohol hits the usual 12.5% abv. It sits on its lees during vinification, and that imparts a bit fuller mouth while maintaining that amazingly fresh acidity.

This Albariño shows lemon, lime and lanolin on the nose, with a whiff of apricot.  The pale color is golden straw, and the palate comes forth with a mighty acidity and a mouthful of green apples, on the tart side.  Minerality makes a big play, and the finish is medium-long with a citrus zestiness.


Follow Randy Fuller on Twitter

Friday, May 11, 2018

Albariño: Altos De Torona

A virtual tasting session is coming on May 16th that involves Albariño wines from Spain's Rias Baixas region of Galicia.  It's being put on by Snooth and I'm tasting nearly a dozen different Albariños for that reason - not because it’s spring, or because it’s almost summer, or because I love Albariño.  Although each of those reasons would have been enough of a convincer.

Spain's Rias Baixas Denomination of Origin was established in 1980, specifically for the Albariño grape.  Of course they had been making wine in the region for centuries before.  In fact, the winery credits 12th-century monks for providing inspiration to this day.  About a dozen grapes are permitted in Rias Baixas for making wine.

Bodega Altos de Torona is located a stone's throw from the Miña River and slightly harder toss from the Atlantic Ocean.  The vineyard's position on the south-facing slopes shields it from the cold, wet weather found on the other side.  Winemaker Pablo Ibañez fermented this 100% Albariño wine in stainless steel to an alcohol level of 13% abv.

This pale Albariño has a citrus-first nose showing lemons, peaches and twist of tangerine.  The palate displays tart apples, lemon zest and some white pepper.  The acidity is fresh and the wine finishes very clean, with minerality lingering after the sip.


Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Albariño: Laxas Of Rias Baixas

There's a Snooth virtual wine tasting coming up on May 16th which will involve Albariño wines from Spain’s Rias Baixas region of Galicia.  I'm tasting nearly a dozen different Albariños for that reason - not because it's spring, or because it's almost summer, or because I love Albariño.  Although each of those reasons would have been enough to convince me.

The Laxas bodega has been in the family since 1862, and they watch over their 13-acre estate vineyard with careful eyes.  The vines grow on steep terraces which look south over the Miña River in sandy, mineral-laden soil.  Winemaker Jorge Dominguez Hervella works with great fruit and makes the most of it, producing an Albariño that speaks of its land.  Alcohol on the 2017 Albariño checks in as 12.5% abv and it sells for around $18.

The 2017 Laxas Albariño is a pale yellow wine which has an interesting nose full of lemon-lime, apricot and a lanolin note.  A bit of earth peeks out amid the smell of white flowers.  The mouth is rather full, yet the acidity is fresh and zingy.  Lemony and tropical fruit flavors abound in a mineral-laden palate and leave me craving a calamari and scungilli salad.


Follow Randy Fuller on Twitter

Friday, May 4, 2018

Albariño: Don Pedro De Sotomaior

Albariño is a lovely white wine grape that is predominant in Spain’s northwest corner. It's the reason they get out of bed every day in the Rias Baixas region of Galicia. It's also the driving force behind a winery known as Adegas Galegas. If you know the area, the company is in Salvaterra do Mino, nudged up against Portugal's northern border.

The firm's Don Pedro line concentrates on Rias Baixas and its heritage of Albariño. The wines are named for Don Pedro de Soutomaior, a 15th century knight and a hero of the region. There's reportedly some speculation that he was also Christopher Columbus. I could find no documentation that anyone ever saw them in the same room together, so maybe that’s true.

Winemaker Asunción Carballo leads a team of people who strive to produce wines which exhibit the character of the region. She rides atop a wave of talented female winemakers in Spain. The wine's alcohol content sits at 13% abv and it sells for just under 20 bucks.

This pale wine, the Don Pedro de Sotomaior Rias Baixas Albariño 2017, is subtle on its nose, with very light aromas of citrus and wet rocks. The sniff is not rendered tart by those descriptives, however. There is a softness to it that takes the edge away. The palate is another matter, as a rippingly joyous acidity makes itself known immediately. Flavors of crisp apples, lemons and a touch of orange are as vibrant as they seem here on the page, like a lovely spring day bathed in the cool wind of Galicia. The pleasure lasts long after the sip disappears. Pair this with fried calamari.


Thursday, April 8, 2010

Gallegas Destino Blanco

 As I researched Destino Blanco, I found that it was extremely hard to find out anything about the wine.  Even the website for Vinos y Bodegas Gallegas, the producer, has no information about it that I could find.  Hence, the informational aspect of this entry may seem a little skimpy.  I apologize for that, and I invite you to leave any comments which may shed some light on this lovely and affordable wine.

There are a few bits of knowledge I was able to come across.  It's produced in Galicia, on Spain's northwestern coast.  It's 11% abv and it costs a paltry $7.  Also, it is not to be confused with the Napa Valley boutique winery called Destino.  The Gallegas export manager, Hay Sprunken, informs me the wine is 100% Airén, a popular grape in Spain, although I understand the acreage devoted to it is dwindling in favor of other grapes like Tempranillo.

First you'll notice the pale golden color.  Then the aromatics.  The nose sports a floral component mixed with wet rocks.  There are a lot of minerals apparent in the aroma, and they carry over onto the palate.

There is no oak influence, so I would assume this to be a wine fermented in stainless steel.  The taste is a bit tart, but very clean and refreshing.  Citrus notes mix with the minerals and produce a satisfying flavor profile which is backed up by a nice acidity.  A slight floral sense is present and lingers in the finish.

Destino Blanco may be a trifle hard to find, but if you do find it, snap up some for the summer months ahead.  I found mine at Wine Expo in Santa Monica.   It may become a standard at your place, like it has at mine.