There are three groups of people in the world: wine drinkers, wine snobs, and moms who like Chardonnay. In my mind, they all fall into a Venn diagram; there are those who fall exclusively in one category, while there are others who are snobs while also being moms who like Chardonnay. I’m probably somewhere in between the first two. I like to pretend I’m just a down home wine drinker all the time, and then someone goes and whips out a jumbo bottle of Yellowtail at a party. So, I reluctantly admit that I am a snob too, and with that comes a desire to learn about all the wine out there in the world. It’s not just about Cabernet Sauvignon and Pinot Grigio, there’s more to discover.
For those of you who didn’t guess from the title, this is the latest blog in a long series about Albariño, the white wine that dominates Rias Baixas. Brought to my attention by PROTOCOL Wine Studio, this DO was established in 1988, thrives with mineral-rich soils, and is often called Green Spain due to its similarities to Ireland. I am already planning a trip in my mind filled with rolling hills, seafood, and white wine constantly flowing.
Still, after eight bottles of Albariño, I was starting to get fatigued. There were tons of intriguing qualities I discovered over the first weeks of the program, but halfway through I was dying for something red and peppery meant for a rare steak. After one night of excessive red wine drinking, and a few others devoted to Riesling and beer, I was ready to devote some time to Albariño again with the 2015 Laxas. Shimmery sunshine yellow, hints of tropics, and crisp enough to make me feel like I should be on the beach, this one had the acid of a younger Albariño with the tropical notes of older bottles. Instead, I was sitting in bed, rewatching One Tree Hill, and eating a creamy Hungarian soup. Remind me who said your 20s are the best? Much like the TV show I was watching, there weren’t many layers to be found yet the irresistible flavor was there. It was a touch too tropical to become a favorite of mine, and the synthetic cork was tough to work with, though at the end of the day, I’d pick this one up to enjoy with others again.
While the Laxas reminded me of hanging out in Bali, the 2014 Pazo Señorans was more similar to something you’d want to sip in the summer while blasting music and getting ready for a night out. There were muted florals, apple, and a lip smacking dose of acid to be found in this bottle, qualities for which I’d sell a kidney. It also was one of the best pairings I had throughout the weeks. As a sushi lover, I try a different bottle at least once a month with my favorite fish. The acid here cut right through the fatty salmon and brightened the uni on my plate. Compared to the previous bottles, the $25 SRP makes it one of the pricier Albariño options. Still, if you can splurge for some great sushi, you can splurge for this bottle as well.
I believe I’ve thoroughly established myself as an ageist when it comes to Albariño- the younger the better, even though I always thought myself above that. With lots of layers, little acid, and a mellowness that comes with age, the 2013 Baladiña was not meant for me. For someone searching for a bottle that seems round, broad, or mild, go for it. If you read these long-winded reviews and tend to agree with me, go for the bottle I mentioned above. Without much to say about this one, I’ll leave you with my sister’s positive words: “I don’t know what it tastes like, but it’s good.”
The 2014 Vionta was much more my jam, with a refreshing and powerful presence in the glass. This was a lively bottle with a creamy yellow color and the flavor of tart green apples. Paired with a fried catfish burrito, it didn’t do too well with the spice, but did sing when accompanied with a hefty dollop of fatty guacamole. This was no delicate wine that needed hours spent mulling over the wine glass; it stood firmly and knew what it was, and I think that spoke to my 20-something self that consistently has no idea what I’ll be doing a month from now. However, I think those of you out there who are a bit more settled would still dig this.
I’m sure it seems like I’ve been yammering on about Albariño for too long now, but after next week’s post I’ll be moving on to something else, and I’m sure you’ll feel the same way I felt when this session was over- you were really just starting to get to know this grape. The next Twitter session of #WineStudio will be commencing in August, so if you fit into any of the aforementioned groups of people, join me and my wine mates as we delve into the glass and straddle the line between wine drinker and wine snob.