No fooling around –this April, we Wine Predators will be fools for Albarino from Rias Baixas, Spain!
Legend says that the Rías Baixas are traces left by God’s fingers, where, after creation, he rested his hand. Bounded by the Atlantic Ocean to the west and north, Galicia has over 1000 miles of coastline. The sea reaches inland to form estuaries where the Rías Baixas mix fresh and salt water to sustain a rich and diverse population of aquatic life–and provide an excellent place to grow Albarino!
Each Tuesday in April (and May!) from 6 – 7:00pm PST, I’ll be talking and tasting Albarino (and more!) with other wine writers and educators during #WineStudio’s weekly educational program using the hashtag #WineStudio.
Not familiar with Albarino?
Like the minerality and acidity of Riesling, the body and white stone fruits of Viognier, and the floral notes of Pinot Gris? Then I bet you’ll like Albarino!
Traditionally grown in Rías Baixas, a coastal wine region in Galicia in northwestern Spain, Albariño produces aromatic, tart, bright, acidic white wines with citrus fruits and white flowers that pair particularly well with seafood but also works with Asian foods that aren’t too spicy. Read my review of Paco and Lola Albarino from Rias Baixas.
While grown in great volumes in Spain as well as in Portugal as Alvarinho, Albarino is less commonly found in other parts of the world but increasing in popularity. In California in 2000, only 2 acres of Albarino were grown, but that increased to 217 by 2013.
In California, the Lodi AVA is now California’s leading grower of the grape, and Twisted Oak Winery in Murphys, Calveras County where they have helped to lead the resurgence of this grape with their very limited release Albarino (around 50 cases).
The Central Coast also grows stunning Albarino, including the Edna Valley AVA in San Luis Obispo (read a review of Creek Ranch’s Albarino from Paragon Vineyard). This is where Bob and Louisa Lindquist of Qupé planted it in 2005 where it is thriving in their cool, coastal Edna Valley vineyard
an area much like Albarino’s home in Rias Baixas, Galician for “Lower Rias,” which 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 Galicia, Spain.
Proximity to the Atlantic means a maritime climate for Rias Baixas with abundant rain eight months of the year and cooling fogs which make for verdant hillsides, fortunately the region also boasts plenty of sunshine during the growing season: Rías Baixas’ has more than 2,200 hours of sunshine per year which is more than enough to develop a luscious ripeness most vintages. Too much rain, however, can mean losses of up to 35% of the harvest.
This April and May, join us on Tuesdays from 6-7pm PST on Wine Studio as we travel to Spain to taste some 40 different wines from Rias Baixas.
That’s right, we will be tasting 40 wines (from a region with around 200 wineries) over the 9 weeks! But we won’t be just tasting wine: each week has a different theme and focus. Que Syrah Sue and I have been discussing foods to pair each week as well and we’ve found some great recipes we’ll share!
- April 5: Rias Baixas provides an overview of the region where over 90% of the vineyards are Albarino
- April 12: Terroir, Taste and Style Guide for Rias Baixas
Adegas Gran Vinum, 2015 Nessa DO Rías Baixas – Val do Salnés @GranVinum
Martin Codax, 2014 Martin Codax DO Rías Baixas – Val do Salnés @BodMartinCodax
- April 19: The Hip “Pairing” Vibe of Rias Baixas featuring recommendations by Star Chef Katie Button and Wine Director Felix Meana
Rectoral do Umia, 2014 Viñabade DO Rías Baixas @rectoraldoumia
Señorio de Rubiós, 2015 Robaliño DO Rías Baixas – Condado do Tea @SrodeRubios
- April 26: Winemaking Innovations – Tradition vs the Modern Winemaking Arena with recommendations by Sommelier Jill Zimorski
Veiga Naum, 2014 Veiga Naum DO Rías Baixas @RiojanasUSA
ATTIS (Attis Bodega y Viñedos) 2014 DO Rías Baixas
- May 3: Albariño and Albariño blends with Treixadura, Loureira, Torrontes and more!
- May 10: Galicia– “Green” Spain and the Celtic Influence of Rías Baixas
- May 17: The Influence of Estuaries on wine and food
- May 24: How Women Winemakers Rule the Region with guest host Katrin Naelapaa, Director of Wines from Spain
- May 31: The Wine Roads of Rias Baixas: Travel Tips with guest host Wine Travel Expert/Sommelier Jose Carlos Roman
Stay tuned for more specifics about which wines we will be tasting and when!
Note: wine samples provided for my participation in #WineStudio. Images above from the Rias Baixas website.