Monday, January 9, 2012

Wines of the Sea

I have often mentioned that my favorite white wine is Riesling, especially those from the New York Finger Lakes region.  Another that I discovered in the past year that rivals those favorites is the Albariño wines from the Rias Baixas region of Spain.  I now think that it is maybe because I found the Riesling and Albariño so similar.  At least that is what I found in three samples I just received from the PR folks at Cornerstone Communications.
I was going to taste all three and then post a review on one of the three, but decided instead, to review all of them in one post.   This is a bit different than what I normally do, but I did not want to leave two of them out.
The first two were opened on New Year's day with a dinner of pork roast with mashed potatoes and sauerkraut.  This is our traditional New Year's day meal and one that I especially like with a dry white wine like Riesling.
Before dinner, with a little left over to start the meal, I opened the 2010 Valmiñor Albariño ($20).  A yellowish straw color with aromas of melon, peach and red grapefruit were a bit overpowered by some slate or mineral. Smooth and not too citrusy in the mouth with some green apple were, at first, a little disappointing, but finished nicely with some peach and a little citrus.  This wine was nice, but overpriced at $20.  
The second bottle opened was a 2010 Zios de Lusco Albariño ($16).  More of a lighter yellow color with lots of tropical fruit on the nose.  Passion fruit and some pineapple with hints of guava were very aromatic. A zesty mouthfeel with some tropical fruit finished dry and long. A very nice wine and nicely priced.  I would pair this with broiled scallops or a shrimp cocktail.
Both wines tasted with the pork dinner were nice, but the Zios was much more pleasant and paired much better.
The third bottle of Albariño received was a Martin Códax 2010 ($15).  I reviewed the 2008  vintage a year ago and I was sold on Albariño since.  I saved this for a dinner of baked trout with Jasmine rice and asparagus.  The 2010 vintage was much like the '08, (outstanding).
Aromas and palate were filled with melon, pear, green apple with floral aromas of honeysuckle and apple blossom.  Add a hint of pineapple with a very long finish and you have one fantastic wine.  By far, the best of the three and priced very nicely at $15.
I recently found a few more Albariño's locally and have put them away for the right time and the right meal to uncork and enjoy. Like my favorite Rieslings, I find these wines very aromatic with lots of tropical fruits, apple and floral with some mineral and nicely balanced.
Albariño wines have been nicknamed Wines of the Sea, based on their derivation from coastal vineyards and on their compatibility with seafood.  For the Rias Baixas are also famous for their wonderful seafood.  Fishing villages line the rias and ocean coast, and fishing is a major industry.  It is a delightful experience for locals and visitors alike to spend a sunny afternoon at a charming little outdoor cafe in Rias Baixas fishing village, enjoying a plate of fresh seafood and a bottle of crisp, dry Albariño wine.  
Well, another add to my retirement bucket list and I think a visit to Rias Baixas may be going to the top of that list.


The Spectator said...

I don't even think of Spain when looking for a good white. Thanks for the tip.

lola said...

Well, next time time you just come and see us in the Rías Baixas, GALICIA, NW coast of Spain, nothing to do with the rest.

Welmoed Wine USA said...

You an interesting and valid point regarding the effect of coastal air on wine. We've noticed a similar effect here in South Africa, where wine from vineyards on our Western Coast display a distinct minerality, perhaps from the salty sea air.

in vino veritas said...

Joe, I agree. I really enjoyed the 2007 vintage of the Martin Codax Albarino which is posted on my blog. In addition to the Albarinos, I also enjoy the verdejo wines from Spain.