I am a red wine drinker. It is always my first preference when it comes to choosing an alcoholic beverage.
But my friends, I have a new favorite wine. And it’s white!
For all of you who know me personally, you can pick yourself up off the floor now.
2006 Burgans Albarino, Rias Baixas, Spain $12
I know it’s surprising to hear me proclaim my love for white wine, but this particular bottle did it for me.
I’m not one to preach about perfect food and wine pairing. I believe in drinking what you love at all times, EXCEPT when it comes to spicy food. This is when you have to find something that will stand up to the hurdles of consuming wine with a spicy meal.
This Albarino will fit the bill. It is the perfect quencher for all the garlicky, fiery and spice-laden dishes you could cook up. Trust me on this one.
I know when it comes to Spanish wines many of us think of very heavily oxidized Spanish reds such as a Rioja and the sherries of Jerez, two wines Spain is most well-known for.
However, Spain is producing some amazing white wines too. Albarino (al-ba-Reen-yo) has exploded in popularity over the last decade and a half in other parts of the world. But, fifteen years of winemaking tradition in a country like Spain is a drop in the bucket in comparison to it’s long winemaking history. So what changed?
New technology probably. Refrigeration is most likely the biggest factor in the recent new-found excitement of the Albarino varietal. Most of the wine regions of Spain were without refrigerated stainless steel fermentation tanks, something overhauled only in more recent times. Refrigeration allows for the higher quality wines being produced in these areas.
Now, a once oxidized wine, fermented outside during the heat of the harvest has become a rich, golden drink full of ripe stone fruit flavors with rich creamy textures.
And as I was saying, when refrigeration came to town, this beautiful varietal was able to preserve it’s aromatics and bright acidity, making it a truly classic summer drinking wine.
Produced in the Rias Baixas (Ree-as By-shas) zone of Galicia, Albarino is a thick-skinned grape that is able to withstand the damp climate, influenced by the salty spray of the nearby ocean. The word rias is a reference to the shellfish-rich inlets from the Atlantic ocean along the very jagged Galician coast. The grapes grown here are trellised high above the ground allowing better air circulation to occur around the grape clusters. This keeps the fruit dry and less prone to mildew and fungal diseases common in wetter climates.
As far as this particular bottle is concerned, the aromatic fruit and citrus flavors are apparent immediately upon opening; peach, orange and grapefruit being the most prominent. On the palate vibrant acidity and tartness reminiscent of a tart apple become apparent. Overall, this is a light, crisp and refreshing example of a well-crafted and balanced wine.
This wine should be easy to locate because it is widely distributed and made by one of the largest Albarino producers in Spain.
I hope you will give it a whirl.
And as always, what did everyone out there have to drink last night? Anything I should know about?