Showing posts with label Rias Baixas. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Rias Baixas. Show all posts

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Exciting White Trio. Albarino, Sauvignon Blanc, Riesling

Terras Gauda Abadío de San Campio Albarino, Rías Baixas (DO) 2014, 12%, €20.35 Le Caveau

Thought to be related to Riesling and presumably brought by Cluny monks to 12th century Iberia, via France, the recently fashionable Albarino grape is now mainly associated with Rías Baixas in north western Spain. It is also grown in neighbouring areas in Portugal where it is known as Alvarinho.

I was expecting good things in this bottle and I got them, even better than anticipated. Colour is mid-gold, bright and clean and there is no shortage of white fruits in the aromas. On the palate, it is bright and fruity, citrus in the tingle, minerality to the fore, a superb combination overall and that includes the long finish. Ticks all the boxes for a classy Albarino and is Very Highly Recommended.

The producers say it is ideal with seafood, shellfish and fish and especially with Tuna steaks.

Elgin Ridge 282 Sauvignon Blanc, South Africa 2014, 14%, €19.95 Le Caveau
At 282 metres above sea-level, we are at the ideal height to create cool climate Sauvignon Blanc in the Elgin Valley. The organic farming methods give the wine its elegance and unique flavour.

So says Marion Smith, ex Ballyjamesduff, who now runs the winery with her husband Brian. By the way, Dexter cattle, a native Irish breed, figure in the organic farming, grazing between the rows of vines and indeed Marion has the biggest herd of Dexter in the Western Cape.

Dexters aren’t the only “helpers” for Marion and Brian, who planted their first vines here in 2007. They also use Dorper sheep, chickens and Peking ducks to control the weeds and pests. Looks like the combination is working very well indeed.

Colour is a medium-gold with green tints. The aromas are fresh and cool. That freshness extends to the palate, tingly with concentrated white fruit, including gooseberry, citrus also prominent, pepper and spice too and then an excellent finish. Highly Recommended.

Carl Ehrhard Rüdesheim Riesling trocken, Rheingau 2015, 12%, €17.80 Karwig Wines

Grapes are hand-picked and indeed the vinification is focussed on “preserving the natural fruit”. This is facilitated by natural and gentle fining and slow cool fermentation. As usual Carl Ehrhard gets it right.


Colour is pale gold with greenish tints and you'll note micro bubbles clinging to the glass. Aromas are a gentle mix of apple and citrus. It tingles the palate; the intense fruit, now with more than a hint of grapefruit, and a super refreshing acidity combine well all the way to a long finish. This dry wine is Very Highly Recommended. Perfect for aperitif and with seafood and Riesling is regularly recommended for Asian.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Top Red Trio from SuperValu. Delicious Whites too.

Top Red Trio from SuperValu
The annual SuperValu Christmas showcase gets underway tomorrow, 24th of November, and here are three reds (from many) to watch out for. My top three consist of an Italian style Shiraz from Australia, a lovely food-friendly Sangiovese from Tuscany and a delicious Rioja to try with the red meats, leg of lamb in particular. Cheers!

Nugan Alfredo Dried Grape Shiraz 2012 (Australia), 14.5%, €19.99 (15.00 from 24/11) SuperValu

The dried grape technique is borrowed from Italy. It is used mainly to increase concentration. Five days then in contact with the skins before going on to spend 12 months in French and US oak. It comes in a noticeably heavy bottle!

Darkly coloured (garnet), it is lighter towards the rim.  It has very inviting fruit aromas, cherry and plum. And the velvety palate is certainly concentrated, complex deep flavours (that cherry again), some spice too; quite intense; excellent acidity too and it has a long finish. Very Highly Recommended.

Castellani Arbos Sangiovese (IGT Tuscany) 2013, 13.5%, €12.99 (10.00 from 24th Nov) SuperValu
Vanilla is prominent in the aromas of this Highly Recommended medium red; darker fruits there too. On the palate, it is smooth and fruity (cherries and plums), drifts of spice too, plus that quintessential acidity (almost an ever-present in Italian wines), and fine sweet tannins make it a pleasure in the mouth and the dry finish ain't bad either. Great value.

The producers aim has been to use the best Sangiovese grapes “to produce a Tuscan red dominated by fruity and spice notes, typical of the grape”. This worthy effort may be enjoyed with red meats and pasta dishes.

Pagos de Labarca AEX Rioja (DOC) 2011, 14.5%, €22.99 (18.00 from 24th Nov) SuperValu
Vanilla for sure in the complex nose but fruit shines through as well in this dark cherry red. That excellent balance is also noted on the smooth palate, tannins close to fine, plus some spice too, fruit and wood are well integrated and then follows a long and juicy finish with the dark fruit and vanilla still in harmony. Highly Recommended.

Bodega Covila, a co-op in Alavesa, regard this, rightly I think, as a Premium wine. It is a limited edition, just 6,400 bottles. It has excellent acidity and should be a good match for roast leg of lamb (no mint sauce though!), a match to repel the December chill and reinforce the Christmas cheer.

All Right With SuperValu Whites

Coopers Creek Dillons Sauvignon Blanc 2015 Marlborough (New Zealand), 12.5%, €14.99 (12.00 from 3.11) SuperValu
Best enjoyed young and fresh, say Coopers. So let's get at this Dillons, part of their Select Vineyards series.  It is light gold in colour with white fruit aromas (gooseberry, lime and peach in the mix). A power of flavour on the intense palate, balanced by a delicious acidity. Young and fresh it comes with a reverberating finish. Not to be left on the shelf. Highly Recommended.

Abellio Albarino 2015 Rias Baixas (DO), 12.5%, €13.99 (10.00 from 24/11) Supervalu

Liked the colour of this immediately, an inviting medium gold. It is hand-harvested and ideal with shellfish and fish and also recommended for lightly spiced Asian chicken dishes. The medium intense aromas are of white fruit. It has a smooth character on the palate, intense fruit (pear, apple and peach) with refreshing minerality. It is zesty and well balanced and Highly Recommended.

Domaine Les Guignottes, Les Resses Montagny 1er Cru 2014, 13%, €24.99 (€20.00 from 24/11) SuperValu




Not too much to say about this - just go out and buy and enjoy! This classic Chardonnay has beautiful intense white fruit aromas, peach the most prominent. Colour is a bright gold and there are amazing fruit and nut flavours, some spice too. The acidity too is outstanding. Fresh, with  a gorgeous mouthfeel and a long finish. Very Highly Recommended. 

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Albarino. Wine of the Celtic Fringe and the Spanish King.

Albariño. Wine of the Celtic Fringe and the Spanish King.

Albariño, from the green lands of Galicia, has become a very popular wine in recent years. Across the River Mino, the Portuguese call it Alvarinho and use it as the major component (sometimes the only grape) in Vinho Verde.

The Rias Baixas wine region of Galicia, where the indented coastline is a major feature of this Celtic fringe of Spain, is the home of Albariño, and there are a number of sub zones. Condado do Tea is the warmest and this is where the Senorio de Rubios comes from, while the Segrel and the Codax are from the cooler and wetter Val do Salnes. O Rosal is another sub zone, to the south west. Here, you could do worse than look out for Terras Gauda.
Hamper!
I was lucky enough to win three of the wines below (the Codax is the exception) in a pre-Christmas online competition run by Food and Wine from Spain (Ireland) and they invited me to drink like a king! The King of Spain chose Albariño wines to celebrate his marriage.

With its aromas of honeysuckle, citrus, ripe melon, peach, pear, among other exotic fruits, it is the perfect drink to enjoy with friends during the summer. But not bad in the middle of winter either, as I found out these past few days.

It pairs well with a wide range of cuisines and Food and Wine from Spain tell me it “works fantastically with Indian, Asian and Mexican food”.

“The hand picked grapes that go into Albariño wines are carefully tended to by the winemakers in Rias Baixas. Over half these winemakers are women, representing the highest figure of female producers in any wine producing region.”

Finest Wines of Rioja (2011) debunked a popular misconception that these wines are meant to be drunk within one year of the vintage. “..a quality Albariño, bottled during the the first spring after harvest, with a balanced structure relying on fresh acidity and  a good mineral character, will be at its best after its second spring and will continue growing in bottle for some years.”
Tetella cheese (DO)

In Grapes and Wines (Oz Clarke & Margaret Rand), Albariño is hailed as the grape that “brings flavour in bucketfuls to the white wines of northwestern Iberia”. And they go on to tell us that Albariño is “by far Spain’s most fashionable white variety, particularly when grown in Rias Baixas..”

The coastal landscape is neatly summed up in the World Atlas of Wine: “..the landscape is exceptional for Spain: irregular Atlantic inlets called rías, which are effectively shallow fjords, lined with hills that are densely forested with local pine and rapacious eucalyptus imported in the 1950s.” The green Spain.


  • Did a fair bit of reading from authoritative sources for this post and most seem to agree that three of the top producers are: Fillaboa (imported by Wines Direct), Le Val and Pazo de Senorans (O’Brien’s).


Segrel Ambar Albariño 2014, 12.5%
Bright gold in colour, it has intense aromas (fruity, floral, and definity herbaceous). It is not shy on the palate either. The intense fruit is immediately obvious as is its viscosity. That fruit though is well balanced by the acidity and then it also has a superb elegant finish. A super Albariño and Very Highly Recommended. If you like a “bold” wine go for this one, if you prefer something more restrained then try the Mario Sanzo. You might need to try both to be sure!
Segrel is the name given to a travelling medieval poet and this wine, in its Burgundy bottle, is indeed harmonious, a most pleasant balance of flavour and acidity. May have the edge on the Senorio de Rubios.


Imported by Woods Wines Ltd.

Mario Sanzo Albariño 2014, 12.5%.

Bright in the glass with a pale gold colour. Similar to the Segrel Ambar even if not quite as intense, it has a very pleasant aroma combination of fruit, floral and herbaceous notes. Viscosity feels a bit above average. Full bodied, mineral and fruity, with a stronger acidity at play here, perhaps reflecting the proximity of the vineyard to the bracing Atlantic. Overall, it is very well balanced indeed, a very refreshing wine, restrained and refined and Very Highly Recommended.

Sanzo are hardly a typical Rias Baixas producer in that they produce wines all across Spain, even in Portugal.


SEÑORÍO DE RUBIÓS ALBARIÑO
Señorío De Rubiós Albariño 2013, 12.5%,
Got off to a poor start with this one!
My three bottles were accompanied by a Spanish cows milk cheese, called Tetella, and I paired the two, thinking that since both were from Galicia, they would match well. I thought I was on a winner but it didn't work. Not a win, win! Just the opposite. 

Yet, a quick separation later and I had two winners. The unusually shaped cheese is mild and pleasant to eat. It can be enclosed in the local roasted peppers (there was a jar in the hamper!) or used with a little bit of relish (such as the redcurrant and port wine by Lakeshore).

The wine, with its healthy looking light gold colour (tints of green there too), was superb on its own. It has attractive aromas with both floral and fruit elements. On the palate it is fresh, full of white fruit flavours, terrific structure and viscosity and a long dry minerally finish. Excellent and Highly Recommended.
Seen this at €16.99 online at the Black Pig Dublin

Martin Codax Albariño 2013, 12.5%, €16.70 Karwig Wines
A lovely light gold is the colour here. Aromas are intense, not quite as much as the Segrel though the same elements - floral, fruity, herbaceous - are all present. No shortage of citrus-y fruits on the palate, quite a bracing acidity here and then that long minerally finish. Ideal for those Atlantic shellfish and Highly Recommended.


Below, I have added the winery’s tasting notes. Do you like the names of their three steps?


"The Martin Codax winery, named after one of the most important medieval Galician troubadours, was founded in 1986 thanks to the idea of a group of winegrowers; as a winery made by people for the people. Set up by 270 members, the winery also relies on the collaboration of 300 families whose grapes are supplied to us. As a big family, we work together in order to ensure our wines have the highest possible quality."


TASTING NOTES

VISUAL STEP

Clean, bright lemon yellow with greenish reflections
OLFACTORY STEP
Medium intensity with ripe citrus notes file type and tangerine. Predominant note floral (hawthorn, jasmine and orange blossom) and a herbal background type hay.
GUSTATORY STEP
Envelope, fresh and good balance. The aftertaste reminds the note of ripe citrus.