Friday, August 17, 2018

Albarino: Summer in a Glass in the Land of Rias Baixas

A little behind on the game I am as I just completed our family move to New Hampshire and this virtual tasting I attended with Snooth was back in May, but the wines (and my notes) are fresh in my mind highlighting the white wines, specifically albarino, of Rias Baixas in Spain.  The tasting was led by Mark, co-founder of Snooth, and James Beard award winning wine and food writer, Lyn Farmer.   

The wine region of Rias Baixas is located in Galicia in the northwestern part of Spain and it’s wine production is 90% dominated by the refreshing grape, albarino.  A rather cool region with the summer only averaging about 60 degrees.  Within Rias Baixas are 5 sub-regions and in the tasting of 11 albarino wines we covered 3 of them including Val do Salnés,  Condado do Tea and O Rosal.  The other 2 not covered here today are Soutomaior and Ribeira do Ulla.  Interesting fact of the region is that more than half of the winemakers are women.  Women power!   
1.) Condes dei Albarai (Val do Salnés) - SRP $15 
A winery founded only 20 years ago located in a very wet province.  A crisp wine with citrus qualities and good body and acidity combined with nice minerality.  The minerality and saltiness seemed to be a consistent characteristic in the tasting.     

2.) Bodegas As Laxas (O Rosal) - SRP $18 
One of the 1st wineries in Rias BaixasLocated right on the river with vinho verde being grown on the other side.  There are lots of terraced vineyards.  A fresh wine showing notes of stone fruit and citrus and is rather well balanced.   

3.) Don Pedro de Soutomaior (Condado do Tea) - SRP $19 
Soutomaior is the smallest of the 5 subzones, but this wine actually hails from the Condado do Tea subregion.  Named after a hero of the 16th century, Don Pedro.  Good citrus, acidity (looking like a trend here) with plenty of salinity.  Nice and clean.  

4.) Pazo Señorans  (Val do Salnés) - $25 
For those that are lovers of ratings this wine was rated as #35 on the Top 100 Wine Entusiast list in 2017.  A wine aged on the lees for 5 months creating a rather soft, creamy wine with tropical notes. 

5.) Valmiñor (O Rosal) - SRP $19 
A wine with good acidity and grassy notes combined with herbs.   

6.) Señorío de Rubiós Robaliño. (Condado do Tea) - SRP $18 
This wine is produced from a collective of 105 partners combining traditional and modern values in winemaking.  A bright wine with with notes of melon.     

7.) Altos de Torona (O Rosal) - SRP $20 
This winery is located along the coast and produces a clearn wine with bright acidty that is like biting into a crisp, green apple.   

8.) Nai e Señora (Val do Salnés) - SRP $16 
A wine with is a tribute to women.   An aromatic nose with zesty acidity, salinity and lots of citrus.   

9.) Fillaboa (Condado do Tea) - SRP $20 
This wine hails from one of the oldest farms in Galicia.  A wine produced on the lees creating a richer, silky texture.  Notes of tropical fruits with a little spice.  

10.) Paco & Lola (Val do Salnés) - SRP $22 
This wine is produced from a cooperative made up of 400 members.  A fresh, easy drinking wine with notes of lemon and citrus.  Quoted as a wine good for those that like sauvignon blanc, but looking for something different.   

11.) Terras Gauda (O Rosal) - SRP $24 
Made up of some pretty unique grapes including 70% albarino, 15% loureiro and 15% caino.  A wine with depth, creaminess and some stone fruit. 

If you haven’t tried albarino hopefully this is driving your motivation to grab a bottle this weekend.  If you have already tried albarino what did you think and have you tried any of these wines yet? 

*All wines provided as samples, but opinions are my own.