A few weeks back, I was sent ten bottles of Albariño from the Rías Baixas in preparation for a virtual tasting organized and moderated by Snooth last week.
While I was delighted to receive the wines, my thoughts quickly turned what I’m I going to do with 10 virtually full bottles of Albariño after the tasting?
Clearly, a party to share my Albariño bounty some my wine loving friends from our Pacific Point Wine Tasting Club was the solution!
My wife cooked up a batch of Mussels In White Wine. And our friends brought over a variety of small bites that paired well with Albariño.
Wonderful friends, food and wine is a winning combination every time! The party lasted from mid-afternoon until well into the evening!
About Rias Baixas
Rías Baixas (click here for a quick video of pronunciation) is a DO classified wine region in the Galicia region on the northwest coast of Spain. The region is renown for its signature grape, Albariño, an indigenous grape variety that produces crisp, mouth-watering, and refreshing white wines with a stone-fruit, citrus, and mineral character that pair perfectly with the local bounty of seafood.
According to local legend, the Rías Baixas are the traces left by the fingers of God’s hand, when after creation he rested for a moment in Galicia – Rias Baixas Wines
The Albariño grape variety is naturally high in acidity, and can be produced as a light bodied, sleek style or in a fuller-bodied style, with oak or lees aging adding to its depth, texture and richness.
Rías Baixas is Galician for “Lower Rias,” and refers to four estuaries – Ría de Muros y Noia, the Ría de Arousa, the Ría de Pontevedra, and the Ría de Vigo – located on the southwestern coast of the region. The Rías Baixas are arms of the sea that mix fresh and salt water to sustain, arguably the world’s richest maritime life – and also contribute to the distinctive geography of the region.
The combination of the region’s wet, coastal climate, the influence of the nearby Atlantic Ocean and the region’s mineral-rich alluvial top soils, a combination of clay, silt, sand and gravel create a distinct terroir.
The result is the right grape, grown in the right place producing wines with a distinctive minerality and often an appealing salinity.
There are variations in Rías Baixas’ terroir and region is divided into five subzones (from north to south) – Ribera do Ulla, Val do Salnés, Soutomaior, Condado do Tea, and O Rosal (find out more about each by clicking here).
All wines labeled Rías Baixas must be at least 70 percent Albariño, with the rest made up of Treixadura, Torrontes, Loureiro and Caiño Blanco, a rarely-seen Galician grape which is often mistaken for Albariño (source)
The wines were tasted in the following order. You’ll find my tasting notes and a bit of information about each wine below:
2015 Adega Condes de Albarei Albariño Rías Baixas – Spain, Galicia, Rías Baixas, Val do Salnés sub-region. 100% Albariño. Fermented on native yeast. SRP – $15
Pale yellow-green color with candied peach, apple cider and seashell aromas. On the palate it’s dry, medium-bodied, with medium acidity and a creamy texture and flavors of nectarine, peach cobbler, tangerine, apple cider with a hint of wet stone minerality. Short-medium finish. 12.5% abv. We drank this over the course of a couple of days. Paired well with Spider and Dragon roll sushi! Also paired well with Seared Catfish with Udon Noodles! (87 pts.)
2015 Vionta Albariño Rías Baixas – Spain, Galicia, Rías Baixas. 100% Albariño. SRP – $15.99
Pale yellow color with golden highlights and peach, yellow apple, and citrus aromas. On the palate dry, and medium-bodied, with medium acidity and a supple mouth feel with peach, key lime, and a bit of nectarine flavors. Medium-long finish. 12.5% (88 pts.)
2015 Martín Códax Albariño Rías Baixas – Spain, Galicia, Rías Baixas, Val do Salnés sub-region. 100% Albariño. Fermented in stainless steel. SRP – $16.99
Very pale straw color with ginger, passion fruit, and pear aromas. On the palate it’s light-bodied, fresh and crisp with passion fruit, pear, and apple flavors and a medium+ finish. This would be great with shrimp ceviche tostadas! 12.5% abv (88 pts.)
2016 Pazo de Señoráns Albariño Rías Baixas – Spain, Galicia, Rías Baixas. 100% Albariño grapes from the Salnes Valley. The wine was aged on lees for at least five months. SRP – $25| 280,000 bottles produced
Pale straw yellow color with alluring peach skin, citrus, honeysuckle aromas with a hint of smokiness. On the palate it’s medium-bodied and fresh with medium+ acidity and white peach, mango, passion fruit, mandarin orange, lemon flavors with an appealing hint of minerality with a giving finish. 13.5% abv (90 pts.)
2015 Pazo de San Mauro Rías Baixas – Spain, Galicia, Rías Baixas, Condado do Tea sub-zone. 100% Albariño. Fermented in stainless steel; SRP – $25| 150,000 bottles produced
Pale yellow color with melon, pear, citrus and a bit of sea shell aromas. On the palate it’s light-bodied, crisp with fresh lemony acidity and pear, apple, and lemon flavor with an appealing minerality. Medium finish 12.5% abv (89 pts.)
2016 Robalino Albariño Rías Baixas – Spain, Galicia, Rías Baixas Condado do Tea sub-zone. 100% Albariño%. Fermented in stainless steel; SRP – $17| 50,000 bottles produced
Very pale yellow color with aromatic peach, passion fruit, honey, mixed citrus of grapefruit and lemon zest with a hint of white flower aromas. On the palate it’s light-bodied and dry with zesty acidity and passion fruit, peach, honey, lemon and grapefruit flavors and a medium+ finish. 12.5% abv (89 pts.)
2015 Adegas Valmiñor Albariño Rías Baixas Edición especial 10 años – Spain, Galicia, Rías Baixas, O Rosal sub-region. 100% Albariño. Fermented in stainless steel; SRP – $18.99| 350,000 bottles produced
Pale golden-yellow color with cider, melon, apricot aromas with a hint of dried herbs. On the palate, it’s dry, between light and medium-bodied, and fresh with melon, apricot, and tangerine, and grapefruit flavors with a medium finish. 12.5% (88 pts.)
2015 Terras Gauda Rías Baixas Abadia de San Campio – Spain, Galicia, Rías Baixas O Rosal sub-region. 100% Albariño. Fermented in stainless steel; SRP – $19.99| 300,000 bottles produced
Limpid golden-yellow color with melon, white peach skin, lemon zest and white flower aromas. On the palate it medium-bodied and fresh lemony acidity and melon, passion fruit, lemon and a bit pear flavors. Clean medium finish. 12.5% abv (87 pts.)
2015 Bodegas Altos de Torona Rías Baixas – Spain, Galicia, Rías Baixas. 100% Albariño. Fermented in stainless steel; 60,000 bottles produced
Medium golden-yellow color with apricot, apple, pineapple and a bit of honeysuckle aromas. On the palate it approaches medium-bodied with apricot, slightly under ripe white peach, passion fruit, and lemon flavors with a pleasing bit of minerality. Medium+ finish. 13% abv (89 pts.)
2015 Santiago Ruiz Albariño Rías Baixas – Spain, Galicia, Rías Baixas O Rosal sub-region. A blend of Albariño (69%), Loureiro (13%), Godello (5%), Treixadura (9%) and Caiño. Fermented in stainless steel and aged on lees. The combination of five grape varieties native to Rias Baixas makes this a wine with a uniquely distinct character. SRP – $20
Pale straw yellow color with subtle melon, pear, citrus blossom, and wet stone aromas. On the palate it’s medium-bodied+ and fresh with melon, pear, lemon, passion fruit and a pleasing bit of kiwi flavors with a lingering mineral driven finish. . 13% abv (88 pts.)
Unfortunately while I was unable to participate in the virtual tasting because I had to deal with a situation at my day job that pays for my wine. Nonetheless, the party and my research for this post provided some takeaways:
- Albariños are great summer wines. They are crisp and refreshing and their aromatic, stone fruit, citrus, floral mineral character make them wonderful both as an aperitif and at the table.
- These wines are great paired with shellfish. They were fantastic with our mussels, fried calamari, and ceviche that we enjoyed at the party. But I’d also consider with oysters, crab cakes, shrimp salad, or Asian fare.
- There was a delightful diversity of styles in the 10 bottles we tasted. Some were light-bodied and zesty, while others showed more body, depth and complexity. All the wines were fresh, charming and appetizing!
- The wines showed varying amounts of minerality and/or salinity, plus some were just a tad bittersweet. I find those qualities appealing, especially at the table!
When I first got into wine many years ago, after reading about Rias Baixas in the Wine Bible, I was eager to try a bottle or two. Well that was many moons ago. And I’ve not had any from the region since then.
It certainly wasn’t that I didn’t enjoy them. I did.
But the world of wine is a big place and I ‘get around” so to speak.
This tasting gave me a great chance to revisit Rias Baixas Albariño. I’m glad I did.
With summer around the corner, whether you’re a first-timer or like me an been around the block a time or three these are wines worth seeking out!
You can check out the virtual tasting here.
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