Over the past year I have occasionally poured a white Spanish wine called Albariño (alba-reen-yo) at our monthly LEX 530 Wine Club dinners. I have come to enjoy the wine, as have many our guests.
Albariño is a white wine similar in some ways to a Sauvignon Blanc. The Albariño grape is a small green-skinned variety that is said to have originated on the North Atlantic Coast of Spain. It is best known for being the key grape in the Rías Baixas DO in the northern coast area of Spain. It accounts for about 90% of the grapes coming out of the Rías Baixas area.
Albariño is also produced in the cooler climates of California, Oregon and Washington State. In California it is grown in Napa, Santa Ynez Valley, Clarksburg, Edna Valley and Los Carneros.
Typically, I find Albariño wines to be dry and mildly crisp with aromas of light skinned fruit such as citrus and peaches. The wine is a light-bodied, highly acidic wine. To me the wine is refreshing and should be served well-chilled but not so chilled it restricts the aromas on the nose. Albariño is not known to age well. It is suggested that you drink it in a 16- to 24-month period, otherwise it will become flat and have some undesirable flavors.
One of the Albariño wines I particularly like is the Burgans Albariño. The grapes are grown at a small vineyard in the Rías Baixas DO region in Spain. The wine is 100% Albariño grapes and it is produced at a cooperative winery named Martin Codax. There are 600,000 bottles made annually. The wine sells for around $16 per bottle.
Below are the winemaker’s tasting notes for the 2018 Albariño we served at our last wine dinner:
“A bright greenish color with golden highlights. A uniquely fruity aroma where the variety is clearly appreciated, highlighting hints of ripe apples, apricots and peach aromas. It is rich and mellow and well-balanced. The aftertaste is fully rounded and off-dry on the palate with juicy fruit flavors, clean acidity and a long, mineral-dominant finish.” – Katia Alvarez, winemaker
The wine is fermented and aged in temperature controlled stainless steel tanks to preserve the freshness and bracing acidity that is typical of Albariño.
At our last LEX 530 Wine Dinner I paired the Burgans Albariño with a watermelon gazpacho, heirloom tomato, radish and micro basil. I found that the flavors of the Albariño’s sugar and acidity levels supported the Gazpacho and helped bring out the flavors. There was a nice balance between the two. Albariño also pairs very well with most seafoods such as shellfish, lobster and grilled fish.
I highly recommend you try some Albariño and perhaps add a few bottles to your cellar.
I am sure that most of you wine folks have read or heard about the fires in Napa and surrounding counties. According to the Napa Valley Register newspaper the fire has destroyed about 300 homes and burned several hundred barns, garages, and other outbuildings.
According to an article in Wine Business Monthly the Hennessey fire that started August 17, has burned 317,909 acres in five counties, of which 164,948 acres are in Napa County. The burn area comprises 33% of the entire county.
While the harvest is underway and a prolonged heat wave is expected soon, there is major concern that a lot of the grapes harvested may suffer smoke taint from the raging fires. I for one, am hesitant to purchase any 2020 grapes to make my Glenwood Cellars wines. Many wineries are refusing to honor their contracts with growers until they know that the grapes have been tested by a lab for smoke exposure, and they see the results.
Meanwhile, the major laboratories are backlogged more than 30 days on testing. With grapes continuing to ripen, the growers and vineyard owners are in a bind. Some wineries are not as worried about smoke damaging their grapes. They say if the smoke does not hover over Napa Valley for a sustained period of time the chance of smoke damage to the grapes is low. Time will tell. Check out this article in the Napa Valley Register to learn more.
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Look Forward To These Happy Things:
Upcoming LEX 530 Events!
Oktoberfest – September 22, 2020 – with Iechyd Da – SOLD OUT!
Artisian Wine Dinner in Partnership with LEX 530 – Wednesday, October 7, 2020 – held at Artisan
Napa Wine Dinner – Friday, October 23, 2020 – featuring wines from 4 Winds Winery
LEX 530 Wine & Dinner Club Dinner – Friday, November 20, 2020
Important Wine Holidays
September 18 – International Grenache Day
November 7 – International Merlot Day
November 12 – International Tempranillo Day
November 18 – International Zinfandel Day
December 4 – Cabernet Franc Day
December 20 – National Sangria Day
December 31 – National Champagne Day