For nine weeks, my life was Spanish wine. I’m sure I made time in there for other beverages while out with friends, but looking back, April and May seem like one big blur of Albariño. A couple of weeks ago, I covered the first few wines we tried during this intensive #WineStudio session and now I’m back to bug you all once again. More wines from Rías Baixas, more variety. This second post is still just the beginning, so buckle up, keep all hands inside the vehicle, and get ready for a wave of words about white wine.
One of many in the complex lineup was the 2014 Veiga Naum, a simple wine that wasn’t one of my favorites. My wishy washy opinion fell in the minority compared to the rest of the favorable ones; however, this bottle promised a lot with fragrant aromas tinged with wet stone, yet felt flabby. For me, it was like one of Han van Meegeren’s fake Vermeer’s; a lot of people saw something there, but it wasn’t quite right. This white wasn’t displeasing, but lacked depth. When my friend and I reached the end of the bottle, I felt like there were others out there I’d rather spend $15 on. If you’re hooked on Albariño and need to try them all, go ahead and pick this one up, but for the casual drinker, there are others I would champion first.
The next bottle, the 2014 Xion, was much better than a wine I’d compare to one of the biggest art forgeries of the 20th century. With a bouquet of white florals and flavors of tropical fruits kissed with acid, this one captured everything Albariño has to offer. Pop this one in the fridge for a bit, but let it warm up to discover all its depths, and drink happily knowing that the SRP is only $13.86. To make it even better, pair it with food like Parmesan risotto and grilled chicken. You can thank me later.
For something lighter and better for the summer, the 2014 Condes de Albarei was the type of wine you’d bring to a BYO specializing in seafood. Crisp, clean, and very drinkable, the pale gold wine paired well with the crab puffs I made for the Preakness. The best thing about this bottle was that it held up incredibly well past day one. It’s a great ‘just because’ choice, and perfect for both wine lovers and simple wine drinkers. As an introduction to this grape, this is a solid bottle to discover, so try and get your hands on one sooner rather than later!
Breaking from this trend of 2014 Albariño, the last one I tried in April was the 2015 Bodegas Altos de Torona. This was the first blend of the session, and in addition to Albariño, Caiño and Bureiro found their way into this bottle. Though I tended to prefer the younger, jazzier wines of the first weeks, this youthful white and I were not friends. I should have known it wouldn’t be for me when I thought the color resembled that of the banana, the only enemy I have in the world of fruit. Instead of highlighting the grape in a new way, this was a heavyset, overwhelming wine that was like being locked in a humid room chock full of tropical fruits. To make matters worse, the cork was awkward and was tough to finagle out. It lacked the character of the Albariños I dove into before this one, and it’s the only bottle from this #WineStudio from which I would encourage others to steer clear.
Discovering #WineStudio and connecting with others through PROTOCOL Wine Studio was one of the better things to happen to me as a young adult curious about the world of wine, especially since I’m surrounded by friends who champion whiskey shots and parents who are margarita enthusiasts. It’s given me another way to connect with wine lovers and ask dumb questions without feeling like a fool. The best way to learn about wine is to drink it and discover what you love, but the second best way to learn about wine is to talk about it with others. #WineStudio offers the best of both worlds, and when it starts back up in August, join along at 9pm Baltimore time and explore alongside me.