An impromptu visit to the beach this evening was rounded out with a a glass of this refreshing Albariño and it got me to thinking about what wines I like to drink on a hot summer day.
In the summer Provençal Rose is great, German Riesling is delicious and mineral cool climate Chardonnay hits the spot and lets not forget about bubbles, but when I have my choice, I reach for an Albariño! This wine from the North-Western part of Spain is the predominant wine of the region and is also prominent in Portugal where it often is a major blending partner in the Vinho Verde blend. For me though nothing beats a single varietal Albariño from Rias Biaxas.
While there are five distinct microclimates that cause the wine to develop flavours ranging from citrus to mild tropical fruit. Despite this, they are in my experience all crisp and refreshing with the aromatic complexity of Viognier and the crispness of Riesling. Recently I’ve had a couple of interesting examples from Uruguay and California but nothing so far has compared to the Spanish version. I haven’t personally taken the time to do a deep dive on the region in terms of tasting, climate, viticulture and other characteristics. The main reason being the incredibly limited quantity of Rias Biaxas Albariño available through the Newfoundland Liquor Corp. For this reason I’ve focused on other regions with more selection to pick from.
The Paco and Lola Albariño featured in this article is a solid readily available example from the 2014 vintage. Something I was actually a little weary of given the fact that this wine is oft considered to be best within the first two years. In this case the wine was still fresh and lively but with an ever so slight, and I mean ever so slight touch of honeyed character. This wine is a match made in heaven for just about all shellfish but I’m personally dreaming of this with some atlantic lobster or diver scallops.
The wine displays primarily stone fruit character with peach and apricot being at the forefront of the palate but there’s also a distinct smell of orange zest and honeydew melon. Further notes of honeysuckle, wet rocks and a touch of saline character round out the profile. Pleased that this wine has avoided the premature oxidation so common in Albariño that are more than a couple of years old.
Do you have a favourite Albariño? What are your thoughts on this grape? Let’s get social and talk about wine!