Two Winning White Wines From Spain

by artfuldiner on June 21, 2013

in Breaking News, Opinion, Wine

Albariño is a white wine grape that is grown in Galicia (northwest Spain) and northwest Portugal, where it is harvested to make varietal white wines. Speculation has it that the grape was brought to Iberia by Cluny monks in the twelfth century. Its name “Alba-Riño” means “the white (wine) from the Rhine,” and it has been thought that Albariño is a Riesling clone originating from the Alsace region of France… although this is far from certain.

Albariño has often been combined with other grapes to produce blended wines; although, in recent years, it began to emerge as a varietal both locally and internationally. The grape is noted for its distinctive aroma, very similar to that of Gewürztraminer. But whereas Gewürztraminer is decidedly floral and spicy on the palate – something of an acquired taste – Albariño produces wines that exhibit clean, fresh ripe fruit flavors and are refreshingly high in acidity.

The 2011 Bodegas Robalino Albarino Rias Baixas ($15.00) recently received a whopping 90 points (out of 100) from Stephen Tanzer’s International Wine Cellar… and with good reason. This is a wonderful wine, crisp, clean, and completely dry with ingratiating touches of spice. And there’s a truckload of tangy citrus here, which makes this wine perfect for warmer weather quaffing and a marvelous match for a variety of foods. Priced at approximately $15.00, and given its incredible quality, it is most assuredly a bargain.

But if you want to go a bit more upscale – and, indeed, you should – you simply can’t miss with the 2011 Santiago Ruiz O Rosal ($22.00). This is a blend of 70% Albariño, 15% Loureiro, 10% Caiño Blanco, and 5% Treixadura & Godello. A wine of great character, the 2011 Santiago Ruiz O Rosal is completely unoaked and rife with aromatic touches and a tangy minerality. But not only is this wine delicious to drink and incredibly food friendly, the label is unique as well. It is actually a copy of the map that Santiago Ruiz’s daughter, Isabel, drew by hand to show guests how to get to her wedding. The Santiago Ruiz Winery is over 150 years old. One of the first wineries in the Rías Baixas region of Spain, it was established by Santiago Ruiz’s maternal grandmother. Mr. Ruiz himself has retired and his daughter, Rosa, is now the owner/winemaker.

Bon Appétit!


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