Albariño from Napa, you ask? Yeah, it’s a thing. A delicious thing. (more…)
When I received a package filled with SIP Certified wine, I was thrilled to see an Albariño in the mix. As one of my favorite Spanish varietals, I’ve only recently come to taste a few with a California home base. After a recent successful tasting of the Eighty Four Wines 2017 Albariño from Sonoma, I was eager to taste what Edna Valley had to say about the grape variety. Maybe too eager. The Tangent Paragon Vineyard Albariño went straight from box, to chiller, to glass that same day.
Abariño? Yes, please! That’s kind of my attitude every time I see the Spanish white wine on the menu. Indeed, every time I do see it on a menu, it is a wine hailing from the motherland. So when I opened up my delivery from Eighty Four wines (a side project by Elias Fernandez and Doug Shafer of Shafer Vineyards — read more about the Eighty Four Wines project here) and saw an Albariño from one of the most esteemed Napa-based producers, I was delighted, excited, and suddenly quite thirsty…
Today California girl goes to Spain for a study in Albariño. This white grape is primarily grown in Galicia, Spain, specifically the DO Rías Baixas. In fact, though the DO Rías Baixas allows for 12 different grape varieties, 90% of the wine region is planted to Albariño 99% of all wine produced is white. Ryas Baixas is known for its cool-climate in the northwestern side of Spain due to its proximity to the Atlantic Ocean. And though these conditions are mostly ideal, the region is also prone to humid rainfalls which can lead to mold, mildew and other diseases. For this reason, many grape growers train their Albariño vines along a wire trellis called a “parra,” which reaches up to seven feet high and allow for wind circulation through the vines and berry clusters.
Fermentation, like most wines, varies between winemakers. Most will age Albariño on the lees, a few will even take the wine through malolactic fermentation. Barrel fermentation, while not unheard of, is, in general, is used sparingly.
There’s your Albariño 101. Now to the tasting…