Thursday, May 31, 2007

Catavino Virtual Wine Tasting for May

I’ve been meaning to do this posting all month, and, of course, here it is on the very last day of May. I am nothing if not a prolific procrastinator.

Catavino’s Virtual Wine Tasting theme for May is albariño. I had hoped to compare some California albariños to some from Spain, but that did not pan out. What I did manage to do was find a different Spanish albariño to sample.

Bodegas As Laxas Albariño Rias Baixas Val do Sosego 2006

This wine is much more complicated than the albariños I've had in the past. The nose is very lemony with pronounced notes of grass and wet rocks. I tasted lemon, pineapple, pear, bell pepper and just a bit of slate. What struck me the most about this wine was the balance between a very creamy mouth-feel and bright acidity.

The albariños I’m used to drinking are a bit more simple, but pleasant all the same. Dr. Debs (and friends) at Good Wine Under $20 tasted the 2005 Martín Códax Burgáns (a past favorite) and found it a little lacking. Tasting the Bodegas As Laxas certainly opened my eyes to another, more complex, side of albariño.

Whether you know it or not, the Albariño Invasion is underway. Spanish albariños are becoming more numerous in my local wine shops. Albariño is also gaining popularity with U.S. wineries. Although I couldn’t locate any in my local stores, one of my favorite restaurants is featuring a California albariño on its list. Interestingly, when I asked a very knowledgeable wine salesperson about ordering some CA albariños, she was almost dismissive, as if they didn’t exist.

In the coming months, I’ll definitely by sampling more albariños. In fact, there’s a bottle of Martín Códax Albariño waiting at home right now. I think it would pair nicely with grilled tilapia with apple/red pepper/red onion salsa and a side of garlic pasta served over fresh spinach.

I’ll also be on the lookout for some U.S. albariños. Maybe I’ll even track down a bottle of Twisted Oak Albariño. One can always hope.

Stay tuned.


Nate said...

Right - either Great Minds, or Total Wine shopping is at work here in that we both reviewed the same Spanish Albariño! And you're definitely right in that this Albariño did have a different mouthfeel to it than the NZ Sauv Blancs, and definitely a much higher "mineral content" to it, I still thought I picked up a fair amount of grassiness that I associate with NZ SBs.

I'd like to do a side-by-side tasting actually, this Albariño (as this sounds a bit atypical based on the reviews of others on Catavino) vs. some standard Marlborough Sauv Blanc (I just used Stony Bay SB for a tasting a couple weeks ago - Total Wine, $11 or so - that'd work). I'm a big fan of immediate comparisons as my notes are only so good in reminding me of the nuances...

John said...

I hope you do a side-by-side tasting, Nate. I'd be very interested to hear how albariño and sauvignon blanc would compare. Might just have to try that myself, too.