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Our favorite Albariños embody the Atlantic coast: rocks and sand, salty brine, and humid ocean breezes mingle with precise fruit, chiseled (even startling) acid, and bold minerality. Albariño is a popular everyday alternative to other crisp, dry whites - Muscadet and Sancerre wines from the Loire Valley and dry Rieslings from Germany - for apéritifs and pairing with fish, seafood, sushi, and salads.
Scratching beneath the surface of versatility and refreshment, all of these categories reveal a intriguing variety of terroir expression, winemaking style, and price point. In recent years, diverse examples of tiny-production, well-farmed Albariño from careful winemakers have trickled onto our side of the Atlantic; they have woken us up to the exciting range of the grape.
Today we are pleased to feature invigorating wines from Xurxo Alba of Bodegas Albamar and Alberto Nanclares, whose neighboring wineries in the town of Cambados (Val do Salnés, the heart of the Rías Baixas DO) are top addresses for focused, expressive, often exquisite Albariño wines. Some are lean and linear, others are broad and dense. Some are both! Alba and Nanclares farm their vines organically and work thoughtfully in the cellar, vinifying every parcel separately with minimal additions of sulfur and elevage geared toward allowing the personality of each vineyard to shine through the wines. With each new bottling (and vintage) from Albamar and Nanclares, we learn something new.
We are honored to work with Bodega Corisca in the southern Rías Baixas zone of Condado do Tea. The talented Natalia Rodríguez and her father, José María Rodríguez González, are pioneering organic farmers (the first to be certified in Rías Baixas in 2008). Their vines range from 15 to 35 years old; they experiment with novel organic treatments to combat mildew and funnel all of their energy into perfecting Corisca Albariño - the only wine that they make. Corisca is purely delightful and well-priced for everyday enjoyment.
With summer in full swing, this energizing lineup of world-class Albariño wines will surely hit the spot. Cheers! Ariana Rolich
We are very proud to work with Corisca ("storm" in the local dialect), a certified organic Albariño made by Natalia Rodríguez and her father José María, pioneers in the region (the first in Rías Baixas to be certified organic) who work tirelessly to perfect the balance of this wine - the only one that they make. Corisca displays pure Albariño character and heightened refreshment at an everyday price. Salty, stony aromas with hints of orange oil and green herbs precede the elegant palate, full of twinkling citrus and stone fruit, bright sea spray, minerals, and a long, complex finish. An invigorating apéritif and easy pairing for poultry, fish, and vegetables. We cannot imagine a more delicious "house" Albariño! Ariana Rolich
This is an Albariño with thrilling shape and gorgeous flavors, very highly recommended for fans of Finca O Pereiro and other Albamar bottlings. I fell in love with 69 Arrobas in one sip... Old-vine Albariño from several tiny vineyards, vinified simply in stainless steel (no lees, no wood, no batonnage) for an unaffected, pure, if not perfect glass of wine. Invigorating and long, 69 Arrobas combines a sheer, salty veneer with a deep, concentrated core of apricot, orange honey, sultry white grapefruit, and tart tropical fruit. Perfect with oysters and mignonette, pan-fried fish and spicy Korean greens, I wouldn't hesitate to pair complex flavors with this truly exquisite wine. Ariana Rolich
Pepe Luis is a special wine made from several tiny parcels on the Atlantic coast of Rías Baixas (made in honor of winemaker Xurxo Alba's brother), distinguished from the other Albamar Albariños in that it is fermented and raised for one year in neutral French oak. You will not taste overt oak flavors in this wine, but barrel aging gives this Albariño softer texture and rounder flavors of orchard fruit and golden apple, supplementing the familiar citrus oils and acidic/mineral essence of the grape. Experiment pairing Pepe Luis with hearty seafood, sashimi, carpaccios, pork, Asian noodles, and spicy fare. Ariana Rolich
Alberto Nanclares combines fruit from a number of vineyard sites for this cuvée, with vines averaging 30-40 years old and planted in a variety of exposures and soil types (including sandy loam, alluvial clay, decomposed granite). Restrained aromas of lime seed and salty air are followed by a rush of racy Albariño acidity, with sheer, minimal lime, notes of tingly ginger and cardamom spice, opening over several hours to reveal more fruit: lemon, stone fruit, and tangy pineapple, along with hints of beeswax and honeycomb (not sweet). Fermented with native yeasts and raised in stainless steel for nine months with weekly batonnage before moving to used 500L French barrels until bottling. Ariana Rolich
From a 30-year-old, west-facing single vineyard of Albariño on deep soils of granitic sandy loam, Paraje Mina is dominated by intense acidity and savory minerals, with flavors of grapefruit, white and yellow flowers, and persistent length. Fermented with native yeasts and raised for nine months on the lees in a 500L used French barrel with weekly batonnage for the first few months, Paraje Mina will benefit from integrating in the bottle a number of months (or years). Only 603 bottles were produced. Snag one for your cellar and send us a report when you drink it! Ariana Rolich
Soverribas is a thought-provoking botanical expression of Albariño from Manzaniña, a single vineyard of 35-year-old vines, which is southwest-facing on sandy loam of granite with alluvial clay. Fermented with native yeasts in 2000L used French oak and raised for 10 months with weekly batonnage tfor the first few months. Aromas of savory green herbs, heather, and moss waft from the glass; the palate is powerful, broad, and long, with ripping acidity cushioned by a plusher fruit profile than Paraje Mina - apricot, lime, and tangerine flesh - with orange blossom, bee pollen, sweetly smoky peat, and sea salt. Imagine an Atlantic sort of garrigue... Delicious paired with roasted or smoked fish with plenty of herbs and lemon. Ariana Rolich