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Wine: All about Albariño

Experiencing regional food paired with a local wine while on holiday is one of life’s great pleasures. In fact, it is often these memories that will spring to mind when we recall a trip away. They are as much a part of the holiday experience as the history, architecture and cultural heritage of the countries we visit; often sustaining us in seasons and locations far from the one they were first enjoyed.

Anyone who has holidayed in North Western Spain, or has been lucky enough to have walked some or all of the Camino de Santiago, will undoubtedly have come across the white wine of that region, Albariño. The main grape of the Rias Baixas DO (Designation of Origin) located along Galicia’s Atlantic coastline; it is thought to have been brought to Spain by pilgrims journeying on the Camino de Santiago, possibly in exchange for hospitality as would have been common at the time. There is still some debate as to whether these pilgrims were German, “Alba-Rino” meaning “the white from the Rhine” or French Cistercian monks from Burgundy who established vineyards as they travelled and built their churches. Albariño now represents 96% of all vine plantings in Rias Baixas.

Especially suited to the granite and quartz rich soils of the region, Albariño is a light to medium bodied wine. Typically, crisp, dry and clean, in the glass it bursts with character; apricot and white peach, hints of spice and a touch of minerality. It is a well textured wine, held together with piercing acidity that helps it stay fresh and hold its length on the palate.

Close proximity to the Atlantic Ocean can also result in a slight salinity, making it the prefect pairing for seafood like prawn, crab, and sea bass. Good with white meat and can handle light creamy sauces. For cheese try fresh Mozzarella, Burrata, Feta and goats’ cheese. A perfect aperitif, Albariño is also great enjoyed on its own.

Certain grape varieties like Sauvignon Blanc have had an almost unbreakable hold on white wine drinkers for many years but with greater availability of quality wines like Albariño, there is now every reason seek out and enjoy these carefully crafted wines whether dining out or at home.

Albariño is attracting attention around the world and is now produced in California, Australia and Uruguay, in fact the wonderful Uruguayan Bodega Garzón Albariño Reserva is a finalist in this year’s Irish Wine Show Star Awards - Best New World Under €20.

LOLO - Paco & Lola: Winning silver medal at Mundus Vini 2017, this 100% Albariño is made with grapes from the youngest vineyards. Straw yellow, it is clean and bright, with hints of stone fruit. 

Terras Gauda - Bodegas Terras Gauda: Pale yellow in colour this is a blend of Albarino, Caino and Loureiro grapes. With fruity aromas of peach balanced with citric notes, it is fresh and mineral with a marked acidity and a long and rounded aftertaste in mouth. A delight! 

All the wines mentioned are available instore at Ardkeen Quality Food Store and online at ardkeen.com

Julie Ward is Food and Wine Customer Advisor at Ardkeen Quality Food Store in Waterford. She holds a WSET (Wine & Spirit Education Trust) Level 2 Award in Wine.

  • Garzon Albarino Uruguay 2018 750ml

    Garzon Albarino Uruguay 2018 750ml

    TASTING NOTE

    Ripe aromas of white peaches, citrus fruits like grapefruit and featuring floral notes of jasmine. It has a fresh, crisp and fruity mouth feel on the palate with mineral notes, and is rounded off with extremely fresh and balanced acidity, with good structure and a delicious mouth-watering finish.

    €19.95

  • LOLO Albarino Rias Baixas 2019 75cl

    LOLO Albarino Rias Baixas 2019 75cl

    Made with grapes from our youngest vineyards.

    The vineyards are grown on sandy loam soils, granite and slightly acidic.

    • Appellation of Origin: D.O. Rías Baixas.
    • 100% Albariño (13% alc.).
    • Fermented in stainless steel tanks between 16 and 18°C for 21 days.
    • Serving temperature: 8 – 10°C.
    • Tasting notes: Straw yellow with green trim and intense. Clean and bright.
    • Nose: Medium-high intensity highlights green apple and lemon peel. Hints of stone fruit (white plum).
    • Palate: The palate is fresh, where repeated citrus and is a reminder of herbs. Elegant bitter finish.

    Ideal with all kinds of seafood, oriental and vegetarian cuisine.

    €14.95

  • Terras Gauda Rias Baixas O’Rosal 2019 75cl

    Terras Gauda Rias Baixas O’Rosal 2019 75cl

    It is a wine of great aromatic and gustatory complexity, where the clear aromas of ripe peach, pineapple and orange peel blend with delicate mineral, earthy memories and pleasant notes of bay leaf and mint.

    The first impression in the mouth is that of a wine of great character, full, but at the same time fresh and youthful, reflecting its powerful structure in an appreciable smoothness and volume. It is creamy, with mineral touches that, together with its fresh and smooth acidity, offers us a pleasant, intense wine with a long finish in the mouth, a true reflection of a rare vintage but with excellent maturation and balance.

    Winemaker's Comments

    • We do not believe it is necessary to decant this wine.
    • Ripening / aging potential:
    • Wine must be consumed young. Aging is not recommended.
    • Optimum consumption temperature: between 10ºC and 12ºC.

    Pairing

    Wonderful combination with seafood: oysters, clams and crab. Enjoy it also with Asian cuisine or with white meats and rice.

    • Harvest: September 2019
    • Alcohol: 12.5% ​​vol.
    • Bottled: December 2019
    • Launch: Early 2020
    • Production Region Rías Baixas - Galicia.
    • Variety 70% Albariño, 20% Caiño and 8% Loureiro.

    The end of winter caused an early sprouting due to the high maximum temperatures. It continued with a spring with thermal oscillations of up to 20ºC. The rains in summer were scarce and the temperatures quite low except for two very intense heat strokes. The stress suffered by the plant was manifested in a low fertility index, with few clusters and of low weight.

    Although bud break was early, the summer weather conditions brought the harvest forward of only 4 days. The favourable conditions for September partially corrected the dehydration of the grapes, providing us with a correct maturation of all the varieties and complex and lively wines.

    Albariño contributes to the mix with its fruity aromas and volume in the mouth. The Loureiro gives us good floral aromatic intensity and the Caíño offers the mix aromas of exotic fruits, balsamic and most importantly, great structure and uniqueness.

    Viticulture: The Albariño and Caíño come from the plots with lower altitude, that is, with higher humidity and warmer, which means an earlier harvest and therefore greater concentration, less acidity and more body in the wines. This Albariño is the one that is harvested the earliest, between September 11 and 18 and Caíño is the last variety that is harvested, between September 21 and 26, being the latest.

    The Loureiro comes from our vineyards of higher altitude and lower humidity, fresher, causing a slower maturation which gives us a live Loureiro with intense aromas and softness in the mouth. Harvested on September 19 and 20.

    Vinification: After a cold maceration of different duration according to the varieties, the fermentation took place at low temperatures in stainless steel tanks. After adding natural yeasts extracted from our own vineyards, the wine stabilizes in the cold, is filtered and finally bottled.

    €21.50

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