Even though it’s technically spring, Emily had to dig her car out from under six inches of snow yesterday morning, and I’m still cursing my light ‘seasonal transition’ jacket and wishing I’d grabbed my scarf and gloves before heading into work. Last week’s 70-degree weather was a total tease, and quite frankly I need to get my hands on a piece of spring that’s not going to fail me.
Are you drinking Albariño yet? If not, you should be. It’s a zippy little white wine that hails from Riax Biaxas (pronounced REE-yas BYE-shas) an area in the Southern part of Galicia, Spain. With tingly acidity, and characteristic notes of fresh citrus and juicy stone fruit, Albariño is hands-down my favorite white wine for summer (or for when I so very desperately need to be reminded of summer).
Many winemakers produce Albariño in a rich-fruit-forward style, but the folks at Palacio de Fefinañes turn out a much leaner version, emphasizing the grape’s bright notes of lime and navel orange, juicy acidity, and mineral finish that reminds me of oysters on the half shell (which, it just so happens, would be lovely with this little beauty.)
The vines grow alongside the Atlantic Ocean, which plays a huge part in moderating the temperature of this otherwise warm region. A more moderate maritime climate means a longer growing season and slower ripening grapes, which translates to tons of complexity in the finished wine.
The winemaker also points out that the proximity to the sea results in a ‘salty’ quality on the palate. I always have a tough time picking up notes of salt in wine, but I’ll agree that it does have a slightly briny characteristic that I find very pleasant indeed. I’d be happy drinking this Albariño alongside a green salad with tart vinaigrette, roasted vegetables, or most any seafood dish. It works just as brilliantly with raw seafood as it does with grilled or roasted fish dishes.
Until I can enjoy this wine outside under the warm summer sun, I’ll just turn up the heat, close my eyes and pretend that I’m on a Galician beach with a big, well-chilled glass. Enjoy!