Showing posts with label Spanish grape varieties. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Spanish grape varieties. Show all posts

Wednesday, March 30, 2022

Rioja Wines For The Choosy Among Us

From importer González Byass.

Bodegas Beronia is known for its Rioja Alta vineyards.  The winery was formed by several Basque friends who wanted to have just the right wine to go with their culinary get-togethers.  Now that's a bunch of choosy wine drinkers.  The beautiful state of the art revamp on the winery is only a couple of years old.  Winemaker Matías Calleja puts his signature on the label of each bottle.

The 2017 Beronia Reserva has three grape varieties in it, 95% Tempranillo, 4% Mazuelo and 1% Graciano.  The winery says that the vines are all more than 40 years old.  The wine was aged in oak barrels for eighteen months and in the bottle for another year and a half.  Alcohol sits at 14.5% abv and the retail price is $25.

This is a dark wine,black cherry red but almost opaque.  Black fruit abounds on the nose, joined by notes of anise, mocha, cinnamon and clove.  The palate is jammy, with spices and herbs making themselves clearly known.  A savory aftertaste lingers on the long finish and the tannins are a bit toothy upon opening, so be sure to decant before serving.


The 2013 Beronia Gran Reserva is a blend of 97% Tempranillo and 3% Graciano grapes, from old vines.  The wine was aged for more than two years in French oak barrels and then another similar time frame in the bottle.  Alcohol hits 14.5% abv and the retail price is $30.

The nose offers black fruit - plums, currant, blackberries - and a savory spice and herb rack featuring pepper, anise, cinnamon, clove and sage.  On the palate, there's plenty of dark fruit and more savory touches.  The tannins are firm and the acidity is refreshing, while the finish lasts a good long while.  


Follow Randy Fuller on Twitter


Wednesday, March 23, 2022

Women in Wine, Part Three

Alexia Luca de Tena is the winemaker for Bodegas Viña Nora.  Her 2020 Albariño is a marvel of the grape.  The full varietal wine concentrates its power on salinity, not flowers.  It carries alcohol at 13.5% abv and retails for $18.  

Viña Nora is located in the Rias Baixas region of northwestern Spain, the home of Albariño.  It is in the heart of Condado do Tea, bordering Portugal and next to the River Miño - the only inland region in the Rías Baixas Denomination of Origin.

The winery says that Alexia Luca de Tena was born into this Galician wine-making family and has been a harvest worker for as long as she can remember.  She believes in "wines that reflect the personality of the place where they are made," the granitic soil of her home.

This golden-tinted single-vineyard wine is an Albariño with a little meat on its bones.  The grape is sometimes a little too pretty for my taste, but this Nora bottling hits me just right.  The nose has a little floral aspect, but it is almost wiped out by citrus, savory and wet sidewalk minerality.  The palate brings loads of lemon, apple and apricot and a wonderful salinity that came as a surprise.  The acidity is certainly serviceable, if not razor-sharp, and the finish is long, creamy and savory. 


Monday, March 14, 2022

Women In Wine

Ruth Fernandez is the woman winemaker behind the 2020 Dominio de Punctum Petulante White, a pétillant natural, or pét nat, wine introduced last year.  This family winery dates back to 1905, so they are not newcomers to the wine business.  She is the Punctum oenologist, working at the winery in the central part of Spain, southeast of Madrid, the Castillo y Leon region.  She is one of three siblings who lead the winery on a mission to provide organic, biodynamic wines.  They farm their grapes free of any chemicals, pesticides, herbicides or synthetic fertilizers on the soil. 

Fernandez says Petulante takes sparkling wine a step farther, with minimal intervention and maximum flavor.  The grapes involved - there isn't much in the way of a tech sheet available - are likely Verdejo, Viura or a combination of the two.  This wine has alcohol at 13% abv and retails for $22.

This white, sparkling wine is actually a cloudy yellow color and brings a savory nose of citrus, floral and minerals aplenty.  The palate also rings the citrus bell, with a bit of apple and many minerals thrown into the mix.  The bubbles are scant, but the flavor is what you're really after, right?  This wine delivers white wine flavor by the carload. 


Wednesday, January 26, 2022

A Big Value Wine From Spain

The value wine Borsao comes from Aragon, Spain, which the winery labels as "the birthplace of Garnacha."  The Campo de Borja D.O. in northeastern Spain is where these Garnacha and Tempranillo grapes originated.  Borsao is actually a cooperative, encompassing some 375 winegrowers who contribute to the greater effort.

I discovered Borsao a number of years back, when it was my go-to $5 wine.  Everyone else adopted it as such, and so its popularity grew, along with its price.  Now it's everyone's favorite $10 wine.  Borsao also makes a wonderful Garnacha called Tres Picos.

The separate grapes for Borsao were fermented in stainless steel tanks before being blended.  There is no notation from the winery on aging, except to say that they use new and neutral oak "moderately to tame and add complexity to the wines, rather than impose its presence."  Alcohol sits at 14.5% abv and my bottle was $8 on sale at one of my local grocers.

This is a very dark wine, and its nose comes through with lush blackberry and plum aromas, draped in a savory earthiness.  The palate brings that dark fruit along with a strong sense of minerality.  The acidity is racy, while the tannins are firm but not too forceful.  I cooked with it, but also enjoyed a glass or two in the process. 


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
2019

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
2020

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.  


Follow Randy Fuller on Twitter


Monday, March 1, 2021

Rioja Red Now In Half-Bottle Size

Bodega Beronia was founded in Spain's Rioja region in 1973.  The winery explains that a group of friends from the Basque country wanted to make great wines to pair with the food in their Txoko - gastronomic get-togethers.  Those soirees were something more than just a meal, and they wanted something more than just a wine to serve with them.

I was given two bottles of the 2017 vintage of the Beronia Rioja Crianza, a 750ml and a 375ml size.  It is the first vintage in which Beronia has bottled in the little guy, which the winery says is pandemically perfect for "single serve meet-ups with friends at a distance."  The wine is 94% Tempranillo grapes, 5% Garnacha and 1% Mazuelo.

The 2017 vintage featured an April frost, a hot summer drought and August rainfall, resulting in high quality fruit which came in a low yield.  Aging took place over 12 months in barrels made from American oak staves and French oak ends, then three months in the bottle.  Alcohol tips the usual 14.5% abv and the wine retails for $15, $8 in the half-size bottle.  They are imported to the US by Gonzalez Byass.

This Beronia Crianza - the name signifies its oak treatment - shows a dark ruby color in the glass.  The nose displays black fruit and oak aromas like spices and vanilla.  The palate offers a true Tempranillo experience, with plum, blackberry and a smattering of licorice.  The tannins are firm and ready to take on a steak, but if you try the wine with ham or cheese you won’t be disappointed. 


Follow Randy Fuller on Twitter


Monday, December 28, 2020

Cava Sparkles, Delights

Vilarnau is a Spanish cava house located outside Barcelona.  I understand they date back to the 1940s, although their parent company goes back much further.  Manuel María González Ángel founded his sherry winery in 1835, then joined up with his English agent Robert Blake Byass.  Importer Gonzalez Byass continues today under the descendents of Señor González.  They sell a large variety of wines, like the cavas of Vilarnau.  The bottles are wrapped in the avant-garde garden design of Antoni Gaudi

The Cava Vilarnau Brut Reserve was made from 50% Macabeo grapes, 35% Parellada and 15% Xarel.lo.  Aging in the bottle took place over 15 months.  Alcohol is quite restrained, at 11.5% abv, while the retail price is an easy $15.

This sparkling wine from Spain has as much on the nose as it does in the bubbles.  Peach and Meyer lemon aromas mix with toasty notes, while the bubbles froth up nicely - although they do dissipate quickly.  The palate is fresh and alive, with lemon, minerals and bit of orange peel for a festive flavor.

The Cava Vilarnau Rosé Délicat Réserva combines 85% Garnacha grapes with 15% Pinot Noir.  Alcohol sits at 12% abv and the price tag is $16 .

This sparkler colors up in a beautiful salmon orange.  The nose has a cherry note added to the peach and lemon.  The toasty aspect is gorgeous, the acidity is lively and fresh and the finish is long and vibrant.  This is a great bubbly for the holidays.


Monday, November 9, 2020

Spanish Desert Wine Yields Nod To Actor

The wine known as El Gringo was named after an actor who worked as an extra in the many Western movies that were filmed in Spain's Tabernas desert.  The region picked up the nickname the Hollywood of Spain due to the many films shot there.  Hammeken Cellars has created an elaborate back story for this gentleman, which is told on their website.

The 100% Tempranillo wine was made from grapevines which have been in place for more than thirty years in the Castilla region.  Aging took only four months and the French oak barrels were previously used.  Alcohol hits only 14% abv and the wine sells for around $16.

This is a dark wine, with light able to show through only around the edges.  Bright red fruit appears on the nose, along with oak spices.  The palate bears the taste of ripe, red berries which dance around a lively acidity and firm tannins.  A smoky element also comes into play, benefiting a wine which is not extremely complex to begin with, but tasty nonetheless.


Wednesday, August 5, 2020

Albariño With A Twist

Bodega Granbazán is in Spain's Rias Baixas region, where they know all about good Albariño.  The winery was established there in the Salnés Valley in 1981.

Granbazán Albariño 2018

The grapes for Etiqueta Ámbar (amber label) came from vines more than 35 years old, destemmed, with a gravity free-run.  Winemaker Jesus Alvarez Otero says that this wine gets fruit from the Finca Tremoedo vineyard, the warmest plots on the estate with the most fertile soils.  The wine was fermented in steel tanks over three weeks, then aged there for five months on the lees, then three months in the bottle.  Alcohol is the expected 13.5% abv and the retail price is $22.

This Albariño offers up a serious and complex nose.  One whiff it's the ocean.  Next whiff it's a field of flowers.  Then, nectarines and tangerine zest.  I know I am in for a treat before I take a sip.  When I do, the pale golden wine delivers stone fruit up front, with plenty of salinity close behind.  The acidity races, then is gone.  It's great while it is there.  That odd citrus/salt flavor lingers, on a finish that is all too brief.


Follow Randy Fuller on Twitter

Monday, June 8, 2020

A Rioja Rosé For The Summer Of Separation

Rosé season, if there really is such a thing, is in full swing despite pandemic measures.  Social distancing is designed to help stem the growth of the virus in our communities, and it really puts a wet blanket over a backyard party, or so I hear.  But rosé is made for backyard parties.

I bellow so much about how pink wines are great any time of year that I’m starting to feel like the old rosado codger.  Rosé wines are as good in December as they are in June.  But since it’s June, let’s have a glass on the patio.  Six feet apart.

The Beronia Rioja Rosé was made from 70% Tempranillo grapes and 30% Garnacha.  Previous vintages had sometimes been heavier on the Garnacha.  Alcohol is easy going and so is the retail price - $13.

I pick up a lot of herbal influence along with some terrific strawberry and cherry aromas.  The fruit plays large on the palate, too.  There is a ton of minerality and a hint of pepper in the sip.  Acidity is fresh, nearly ripping, and the finish is all about the red fruit.


Monday, April 13, 2020

Spain Rescue's 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 - in Spain's northwest corner.  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.

This 2018 wine was made in steel tanks, then 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.


Wednesday, April 8, 2020

Rosado - Spanish For Pink Wine

Spanish wine is a thing unto itself, but I suppose one could say that about French wine, German wine, Portuguese wine, Israeli wine, and on and on.  But it seems especially true for Spanish wine.  It was the wine of Spain that originally got me interested in the wine world.

The 2019 Viña Real Rosado is produced by the big Spanish wine company CVNE, which stands for Compañia Vinicola del Norte de España.  The outfit was founded in 1879 in the Rioja town of Haro by two brothers and is still run by their descendants. 

Under the CVNE umbrella, the first Viña Real wines were released in 1920.  The winery says the vineyards run from the mountains of the Sierra de Cantabria down the slope towards the Ebro river basin.  They say "the mountains protect the Rioja Alavesa subregion, where the Atlantic climate is combined with calcareous and clay-based soils."

The 2019 Viña Real Rosado is made from Garnacha, Tempranillo and white Viura grapes grown in Spain's Rioja region.  Alcohol tips only 12.5% abv and the retail price is $14.

The 2019 growing season was reportedly a healthy one in Rioja Alta and Rioja Alavesa.  Rains resulted in less fruit, making the grapes more concentrated and earlier ripening.  The grapes were given several hours of skin contact in stainless steel tanks - enough for the salmon pink color - but they were not pressed. 

The nose carries plenty of ripe, red strawberries with a hefty herbal influence, as if the green stems are included.  On the palate, the fruit elbows the green out of the way, but a lovely, earthy apricot flavor is introduced.  Acidity is good, if not ripping, and the wine’s finish is rather lengthy and very pleasant.


Monday, April 6, 2020

Monopole: Rioja Blanca Wine

Spanish wine is a thing unto itself, but I suppose one could say that about French wine, German wine, Portuguese wine, Israeli wine, and on and on.  But it seems especially true for Spanish wine.  It was the wine of Spain that originally got me interested in vino - in fact, Viura was one of the grapes that initially caught my attention.

The 2019 Monopole is produced by the big Spanish wine company CVNE, which stands for Compañia Vinicola del Norte de España.  The outfit was founded in 1879 in the Rioja town of Haro by two brothers and is still run by their descendants.  The Monopole name harkens back to a wine they used to make some 40 years ago, one that featured Manzanilla sherry blended with the white Viura grapes and aged in oak casks. 

This wine is not so complex - made fully from Viura grapes, in stainless steel tanks.  The grapes were harvested from mid-September through mid-October, on the heels of a terrible drought.  The region got ample rain over the winter and spring of this vintage.  The packaging is a little unusual for the Rioja region - a tall, slender Rhine-style bottle is used.  Alcohol tips 13% abv and it sells for under $15.

The nose is full of citrus - lemon, lime and bit of orange, a splash of grapefruit - with some excellent minerality and salinity on the other side of the scales.  The palate follows suit, with an acidity level that is nice, but not quite as racy as I expected.  Minerals linger on a finish that serves as a lovely reminder of a beautiful sip of white wine.


Thursday, April 2, 2020

Rias Baixas Albariño

Realizing that many people are stuck in self-isolation due to the COVID-19 pandemic, publicist Gregory+Vine made it possible for wine writers and wine lovers to participate in a virtual happy hour, online with all the social and physical distancing we need.  The event was led by Spanish Wine Scholar Kat Thomas and Rick Fisher, who is also known on Twitter as @thespanishwineguy.  A bottle of Terras Gauda Albariño blend was provided to me so I could take part in the fun.

This wine I tried is from Spain's Rias Baixas region, where Albariño lives.  Specifically, the grapes hail from the O Rosal region within Rias Baixas, spitting distance from the Atlantic Ocean, just north of the Miño River which separates Spain from Portugal.  The 2018 Terras Gauda is a blend of 70% Albariño, 10% Loureira and 20% Caiño Blanco.

Fisher said during the event that the wine regions in the northern part of Spain are called "green Spain" - as opposed, I guess, to "brown Spain."  The land is lush and green up north owing to the large amount of rainfall the area receives.  Thomas chipped in with the info that Rias Baixas and its subregions may be known for Albariño but they also allow red wine grapes, largely Mencia.

O Rosal’s 2018 vintage featured a rainy spring and a hot summer.  The arid conditions dehydrated some of the grapes, making the aromas and flavors inside them more concentrated.  The grapes were taken from the vines in staggered fashion over the month of September.  The wine was fermented in stainless steel tanks, where it rested on the lees for three months before being bottled.  Winemaker Emilio Rodríguez crafted a wine which offers both striking acidity and full ripeness.  Alcohol clocks in at a restrained 12.5% abv  and it retails for $26.

This is a great Rias Baixas wine.  It is complex, with a nose going light on the flowers and heavy on the fruit - lemon and orange mainly.  There is also a touch of lanolin and a hint of apricot.  On the palate, it's fruit up front, with some serious salinity and a very nice acidity that’s as fresh as springtime.


Follow Randy Fuller on Twitter







Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Tempranillo By Any Other Name

Bela is located in the village of Villalba de Duero, in the Castilla y Leon region of Spain's rugged Ribera del Duero appellation.  Bela is produced by CVNE, Compania Vinicola del Norte de Espana.  Their vineyard is some 2600  feet above sea level, and features mostly clay and sandy soil. 

The 2017 Bela Ribera del Duero was made from grapes harvested in the estate vineyard.  The Tempranillo grapes were fermented in stainless steel tanks, then aged for six months in barrels of American and French oak.  Some of the casks were new, some were one year old.  Alcohol hits 14% abv and the retail price is an enjoyable $18.

This Tempranillo is dark and savory on the nose.  Black fruit meets tar over a cup of coffee.  The palate is fruit-forward, with a healthy dose of earth, licorice and spice.  The tannins are firm, but it's still an enjoyable sipper.  The mouthfeel is full, even lush, and the acidity makes for a wine which will pair well with meat dishes, especially heartier autumn meals. My wife used it in a delicious tomato sauce she made, and it brought a deep, earthy facet to it.


Friday, October 25, 2019

Albariño - Oaked And Aged

Albariño wine is usually put on the market immediately after production.  Like many white wines, it is presented young and given a short window of drinkability.  This one came to me by way of a publicity person, and it has a few years on it.  I like to have white wines with some aging, so this was a pleasant surprise. 

Viña Nora winemaker Eider Rodriguez used Albariño grapes which were grown in the estate's rocky, granitic soil, full of river stones.  The winery is located in the land of Albariño, the Rias Baixas DO, in the Condado do Tea subregion.

The 2015 Nora da Neve was fermented and aged in French oak barrels.  The juice was stirred for five months to keep the lees suspended, in much the same way that Chardonnay is handled in Burgundy.  The practice is called bâtonnage, and it imparts weight and character to a white wine.  Alcohol tips 13% abv, and you should prepare to pay in excess of $30 for a bottle.

This wine is so golden yellow, it’s incandescent.  The nose really jumps, too, with the floral and citrus aromas expected in Albariño plus whiffs of fennel, white pepper and herbs.  The palate shows lemon, tangerine and oak spice, something which is not normally found in this grape.  This was fermented and aged briefly in French oak barrels, not steel tanks.  Acidity is a tad flat, but it doesn’t ruin the fun of sipping it.


Follow Randy Fuller on Twitter

Monday, September 9, 2019

Rias Baixas Albariño Celebrates Women

The folks from the Spanish wine region Rias Baixas have a great product to push.  Albariño is not only a delicious white wine on its own, but it's 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.

Albariño wines tend to show up online a lot, in virtual tasting events where wine writers gather together with a sponsor - in this case, Snooth - to sample a few selections.

Other writers commented on the great pairings they were having during the event.  A Spanish omelet, chicken and waffles, bouillabaisse, roasted fish with citrus and - yes - Thanksgiving turkey are just a few of the inspired pairings that sprang from the tasting.

Wine writer Lyn Farmer notes that the Rias Baixas region in Spain's northwestern corner  has a sense of tradition, but is not bound by it.  Half of the area's winemakers are women.  Wine writer Dezel Quillen says if your wine shop doesn't carry Rias Baixas Albarino, they need to.  He says, "These Spanish wines are quite versatile and extremely food-friendly—especially with seafood dishes."

Nai E Senora Alabarino Val Do Salnés

From the Terra de Asorei winery comes Nai E Señora Albariño, a beauty of the Rias Baixas region.  The winery explains that the name derives from Nai e Señora - Mother and Lady - an expression used by poets in the early 20th century "to pay homage to working women who guaranteed the independence of the family and the Galician society and their motherland: Galicia."

The Salnés Valley is located on the left bank of the estuary of Arousa.  Winemaker Jorge Hervella works with Albariño grapes grown in rocky clay soil studded with pink granite.  The apparently non-vintage wine was fermented in stainless steel tanks, carries alcohol at 12.5% abv and sells for less than $20.

This yellow-gold wine has aromas that are more herbal than floral, with savory dill bolstering the citrus and stone fruit.  The palate carries much citrus along with savory balsamic notes.  Acidity is great, and makes for a lively pairing with a variety of salads and seafood.


Wednesday, August 7, 2019

Rioja Red

It was Spanish wine that started my own interest in the broad spectrum of vino.  It dragged a self-described "beer-only" guy into the wide world of wine after attending a tasting of Spanish wine on a lark.  I think about that tasting every time I have a glass of Rioja.

The 2015 Beronia Rioja Crianza is made up of 91% Tempranillo grapes, 8% Garnacha and a splash of Mazuelo.  The wine aged for 12 months in barrels with French oak tops and American oak staves, imparting vanilla notes from the American wood and spice from the French, and it's been in the bottle for a couple of years now.  It carries an alcohol content of 13.5% abv and retails for about $20.

This Spanish red is dark in the glass as well as on the nose.  Blackberry and plum aromas abound, with oak spice playing a supporting role.  The palate displays black fruit, sweet notes and powerful tannins.  Bring on the ribeye, hot off the grill.


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

Tuesday, July 9, 2019

Sparkling Albariño

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.

The 2016 Sensum Laxas Sparkling Albariño is made from 100% estate-grown Rias Baìxas Albariño grapes. It is fermented in the traditional method, the way it’s done in Champagne.  Alcohol tips 12.7% abv, and the price hits nearly $30.

This sparkler has intense bubbles and a nose of green apples, citrus and floral notes.  On the palate, minerals abound.  There’s a very nice acidity, with a creamy aspect on top of it.  This wine will pair with any type of seafood, but try it with oysters.


Follow Randy Fuller on Twitter