Thursday, April 8, 2010

Albariño - From a Rainy Region for a Sunny Summer

Rías Baixas is an exciting wine region located in rainy northwestern Spain. Its local specialty is Albariño, a crisp white wine that has a character that changes seemingly with the changes in your own mood. I had my first Albariño of the season - Martin Códax Albariño 2008 ($13.00, easy to spot with a funky old school type of guitar on the label) - two days ago on the first of several much-hotter-than-usual days in New York City.

The retailer kept it in the fridge. At first, knowing this was more of a liquor store and that the people running probably had no clue, I was concerned about how long it had been in there - the 2008 has been on the market for at least 8 months now, and the label was beginning to warp. Nonetheless, I took a chance on it, and I’m glad I did. It was memorable, with stone fruit aromatics that reached up and caught my attention as I was still pouring my first glass. The wine had an herbal undertone - eucalyptus? or star anise? - it was hard to put my finger on, but easy across my palate with a mouthful of flavors, crisp acidity and a clean finish.

I strongly encourage that you espouse this grape this summer - well, have an open relationship, still try other wines, but make it your business to seek out Albariño all summer long, buy them, try them with your peoples, see what you think. Buy in the $10.00-$15.00 per 750ml bottle range - steer clear of Vinho Verde, its not the same thing! By summer’s end, you’ll be an Albariño connoisseur, and you’ll tell me which ones are best! I’d love that!

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