If we walk along the El Camino Real from our house along the Ventura beach at night to Santa Barbara county campsites at Refugio or El Capitan State Beach just north of Santa Barbara, the lights of the squid boats bounce gently on the open ocean. They quietly gather there, moving into their spots as the sun sets. One minute you’re watching the falling light, the next you’re gazing on the twinkling squid boats with the stars above.
If I walked further –A LOT FURTHER than I did on the Pacific Crest Trail–I could find myself on the Camino de Santiago in Spain’s western shore, Galicia.
After all they say, the Camino — The Way of St James — starts at your front door.
And there are as many ways to get there as there are people who walk the way– over 300,000 people a year– with nearly 23,200 people along the Portuguese Coastal Path which travels through and, like all the Caminos, ends in Galicia, Spain.
This year, the World Wine Travel group of wine writers explore Espana, and this month we virtually visit Galicia, a trip we are pairing with Albariño wines from the Rias Baixas D. O. And Santiago de Campestoloa is located just above! Continue reading →
Recently, for nine weeks, Que Syrah Sue and I learned all about Albarino from Rias Baixas in Galicia just north of Portugal in the western and northernmost reaches of Spain during an online weekly educational program using the hashtag #WineStudio as discussed in “April Fools for Albarino.”
As you can see from the list below, we tasted more than a case of Rias Baixas Albarino. In this blog post, I am going to share a few highlights from each night to pique your curiosity.
We really went all out on what wines to pair with these Rias Baixas Albarino! In general, foods that pair well with Sauvignon blanc pair well with Albarino.
While most of the wines we tasted over the nine weeks were 100% Albarino, a few were Albarino blends. As they all came from the same region, Rias Baixas, the tasting was organized by various themes, listed with the wines below. On many of the evenings, not everyone received all of the same wines being discussed, and that made it a bit more chaotic than usual. We definitely prefer it when we are all tasting the same wines at the same time and in the same order to have a better conversation about the wine.
Overall it was an amazing experience and we came away with a love for Albarino from Rias Baixas, Spain!
— Gwendolyn Alley, Art and Wine Predator (@ArtPredator) April 12, 2016
There were so many wines in this two month period that at one point I used sticky notes to keep track of which wine to drink when! Above are the first group of wines we tasted in April and below the second group of wines that we tasted in May.
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.
Inspired by the Albariño Wine Festival held during the first week of every August in in the small coastal town of Cambados, Spain, International Albariño Day 2014 is set for Saturday, August 2.
Traditionally grown in Rías Baixas, a coastal wine region in Galicia in northwestern Spain where over 90% of the vineyards are Albariño, this grape 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.
The second annual Albarino Day caught me by surprise but fortunately, I have a few bottles of Albarino from Paco & Lola around. I saw it on sale and I went for it because it is such a wonderful wine with lots of bright acidity with tangerine and lime and that’s seafood friendly–especially with my beloved fresh raw oysters from Jolly Oyster at the Ventura State Beach!
Unfamiliar with Albarino? Probably because most of this dark green, thick-skinned grape is grown in Spain, with very little of it found in the US. Albariño accounts for 90% of plantings in the Rías Baixas region of Spain. But as it grows in popularity, expect to find more of it here!