Tag Archives: Albariño

Beat the Heat With high value Spanish Wines!

31 May

When summer begins to swelter, we find ourselves reaching for something to cool off with. Most people go for a light white wine, some people prefer a chilled rosé. But when I toured the Mediterranean and was impressed with how refreshing the wines of Spain can be in the heat!

Spain is covered with grape vines, most of which are quite old. Age means deep vines, which which equates to small grapes with a robust flavor profiles: rich, acidic reds, and delicate, herbaceous whites.

 

Start with Albariño. In several years of tastings, Paco & Lola from Rias Baixas have consistently been in the top picks. There run from under $20 to low $30’s for aged Albariño. The 2012 pictured below, right, is gorgeously concentrated and a stellar aged white for serious oenophiles.

 

The bright polka dots of Paco & Lola are easily distinguished in a wine store. Take a bottle home and tell me if you don’t adore it!

 

 

 

 

Garnacha Blanca (White Grenache) and Verdejo are two wines that are lesser-known in the USA, but extremely popular in Europe. Some of Spain’s finest wines are made from Verdejo, with delicate flavor and beautiful structure.

 

 

Viura-chardonnay blends like the one below from Faustino are easy to find, herbaceous with bright white fruit, tasty in the heat, and easy on the wallet – around $15/bottle.

 

 

Bright, delicious reds like these old vine ’15 Garnacha and 2016 Cariñena (below) are delicious by themselves slightly chilled, and pair with food easily. Believe it or not, they can often be found for under $10/bottle, but drink well compared to other bottles you might find for twice the price.

 

 

Last but not least, you can often find aged Rioja and Gran Reserva wines that are beautifully aged reds, in the $30-70 range. These offer rarity and great age at a tremendous value.

 

 

Try wines from Spain’s Rioja and Cariñena regions this summer- slightly chilled to beat the heat- and let me know how you like them, and what your favorite pairings are!

 

 

à votre santé!

A Dry White Summer

26 Jun

Last week I hosted a tasting for some wine-loving friends and neighbors. I served only white wines from around the globe.

One of the great joys people find in wine is being able to introduce people to wines and vice versa. I had guests who loved some wines immediately, others didn’t care for a wine until I suggested a specific food pairing- sweet, salty, savory- and with a quick bite, often their assessment changed.

Here are four of the riskier, ‘dark horse’ wines I served that were really fun, and I wanted to share them with you. Each is a dry white wine with lovely expression, and each pairs beautifully with food. They are delicious, artistic expressions of geography and oenology and are not only fun to try, but easy on the wallet.

Better yet, they took a group of people by surprise. Most people adored one of these four- people were surprised how good they were, or had never tried an unusual geography or grape like this before. Every one of these wines is worth your time to explore!

In no particular order:

Cantina Terlano’s Alto Adige Pinot Bianco, 2012, Terlano Italy. 13%ABV, street price around $14.

Martin Codax Albariño 2011, Rias Baixas, Spain. 12.5% ABV, Street price around $12.

L&T Durnberg Grüner Veltliner 2012, Falkenstein, Austria. 11.5% ABV. Street price around $10.

Leitz Rheingau Troken Reisling 2012, Germany. 12% ABV, Street price around $17.

dry white wines

 

Each of these, perfect for food with subtle aromas and delicate minerality, under $20 and pretty easy to find.

When your friends ask you for a “dry white wine” won’t they be amazed when you bring a perfect expression from an area they won’t expect?

Tell me which ones you have tried and what you thought, please? I look forward to hearing from you!

 

à votre santé!

 

Refreshing Wines for Hot Summer Nights

16 Jun

Ah, summer. The mere word brings joy to our minds. Recall the childhood years when you couldn’t wait until you could escape school. These days, you might relive those moments over again for (or with) your children. And we can’t forget the activities of summer, such as beachgoing, ballgames, hiking and camping, the list goes on and on.

What about the wines of summer?  Some people try to drink the same wines they enjoyed the rest of the year. I suggest you broaden your horizons and try some of the refreshing wines that can open your eyes and palate all summer long.

While pinot grigio, chenin blanc and chardonnay are popular and easy to find, I can’t begin to tell you the joy  you’ll have in finding something delicious and new to add to your repetoire! These are especially ideal for late afternoons and those early evenings on long, sultry, summer nights.  While the pictures may be of specific brands and I have blogged about many of these, today I’ll simply suggest the grape and wine type you look for in your local wine store, and see what you can find! When I’m shopping locally, I like to pick up a bottle (or three) of something new to try at a neighborhood store to drink in the next few days, and order by the case the wines I want to cellar for the future.

 

Albariño– fruity aromas, pear, apple and passion fruit with bright acidity

martin_codax_rias_baixas_albarino_2006

Moscato– honeysuckle and orange blossom help make this gently sweet wine a delicious aperitif.

bartenura-moscato

Riesling– a year-round staple in my home. Simple two to three note wines with gentle fruit, excellent minerality and crisp acidity.

2009-Trimbach-Riesling

Rosé– this pink wine made from the red grapes (but without the skins, this can be an incredible ‘bridge’ wine that will work with salads, seafood, soup and steaks.

Roses

Vino Verde– a touch of fizz with citrus, green apple, and pear.

verde

Viognier– peach, apricot, honeysuckle, and nectarine flavors are common in this grape.

viognier-lineup

Please let me know what you try this summer, and how you liked it!

à votre santé!

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