Santiago Ruiz Ablariño 2009

img_6085It’s been a while since I’ve seen this wine around, which is a shame as it’s a very good rendition of Albariño. Plus I’m a sucker for a kitsch label. It is also quite a bit cheaper now. Given the heat wave we’re having in Melbourne at the moment, this was perfect with a bacon, leek and zucchini frittata. The importer is The Wine Company.

The overwhelming flavour here is ripe, but still a bit crunchy pear, which is just how I like my Albariño. In the leaner, acid driven style, yet has the texture and mid palate flavour that just makes it so easy to finish the bottle. Classic aromatics of white peach, pear, jasmine and kaffir lime leaf. Not the most complex of wines,  it’s refreshing, tasty and moreish, what more could you ask from a $30 import?   91 Pts.

Source: Rathdowne Cellars Price: Around $33 Closure: Conventional Cork

Web: www.bodegasantiagoruiz.com

Other Vintages: 2004

Camino del Pelegrino Albariño 2009

Camino del Pelegrino Albariño 2009This is the ‘regional’ wine from Pazo Senorans, in fact it’s mostly from their neighbours. Excellent value and highly enjoyable…

Straight into it with a nose of pear and apple, kaffir lime leaf and lemon. Packed full of flavour, a good spike of acid and good length. Textured. In the mouth there is some gooseberry, fresh pear and a little sage for interest on the finish. Very tidy drinking. 91 Pts. $28

Source: Echalon wines RRP: $28 Closure: Screwcap

Pazo de Señorans Albariño 2009

Pazo de Senorans 2009I have a bunch of notes for samples that importers have sent in over the past 6 months. Poor form on my part for not writing these up sooner, but they’ll all be up over the next couple of weeks…To be honest, I don’t know a hell of a lot about this wine and it’s story. It is one of the most popular and written about Albariños around however, and a bloody good drink.

This is the ‘estate’ wine, there is also a regional wine from bought in grapes from growers sourounding the estate. These guys are most famous for their Selección de Añada, an aged release that sees about 3 years in tank before it’s bottled, which is quite a rare thing for an Albariño based wine.

Super aromatic nose, loaded with pear, apple, jasmine, a slight lemon twist. Nicely textured, more in the fuller figured camp than the striking acidity crowd, but not flabby though. Pear and white peach in the mouth, long finish, talc and minerals. Tangy white peach leaves a lovely after taste. 92 Pts. $38

Source: Echalon wines RRP: $38 Closure: Screwcap

Adegas Galegas Dionisos 2008

dionisos-008Albariño season has reared its head a bit early this year, its been bloody hot for the last couple of days in Melbourne. Perfect for sitting in the yard with a bowl of clams after the sun goes down. Pitty I didn’t have any clams. I know I always go about shellfish with albariño, its only because its a perfect combination. If you haven’t already seen it, have a look at Spain on the Road again…. for an example of what happens in Galicia. However, if you do watch it, have the remote handy. Mario Batali must be one of the most boring and annoying people on TV, and there is plenty of him waffling on about crap in each episode he’s in…he should stay in the kitchen.

Anyway, back to the wine. I like the style of this wine, it balances the floral notes with firm acidity very well. There is that trademark minerality that shows up in good vintages in Rias Brixas, along with plenty of green pear, lemon and lime leaf complexity. Its just long enough and has a tangy lemon sherbet/hot rocks thing going on the finish. Very easy to drink, it’s on the firmer side of Albariño which makes it perfect with food. The price is a couple of bucks cheaper than last year too. 91 Pts.

Source: Ce Soir Imports Price: $28 Closure: Conventional Cork

Web: www.galiciano.com

Other Vintages: 2007

Granbazan Albariño ‘Amber’ 2007

img_5394From the fairly classic, but low yielding 2007 vintage comes this funky bottle of Albarino. I do like the packaging on this stuff, very old school but some how appealing. I always seem to come to the late in the game, the 2008 should almost be here by now. The amber bottling is from the first free run juice, there is also the green bottle which I think includes a bit of pressings…but I’m not sure if its imported these days.

The standard white peach, jasmine and honeysuckle, crisp pear nose of albarino is in full force here, a touch of talc to go with it. Taught and lean in the mouth, acid behind the fruit driving it along. Plenty of crisp green pear on the palate, mixed up with a bit of lemon and lime rind and sprinkling of rocky minerals. A long  finish that shows of that minerally acid and a hint of apricot that I always seem to find in this wine. Good drinkin’. 90 Pts.

Source: Rathdowne Cellars Price: $38 Closure: Conventional Cork

Web: www.agrodebazansa.es

Other Vintages: 2005

Castro Martin Albariño 2007

img_4982I needed to take a quick snapshot on the way out, so the old ‘leaning’ photos from previous Tinto y Blanco themes has made a bit of a come back. It’s been a while since I’ve had a bottle of Castro Martin, so I decided to take this one out for some seafood. I was hoping for clams, but settled for salt and pepper squid along with some scallops with lemon grass and chili at Thanh Thanh on Victoria Street. Magic stuff.

I’ve said it in the past, but I’ll say it again: Castro Martin produce  the most appealing and aromatic Albariño around. 2007 as a vintage is a return to the more minerally style, but with the usual Castro nose of white flowers (jasmine and honeysuckle), white peach, lemon rind and a touch of river rocks. A light straw colour, with the trademark Castro Martin nose of white peach, jasmine and honeysuckle with some green lemony goodness. Nicely textured in the mouth, which gives a sense of richness, but on the other side is quite lean and taught thanks to some cleansing acid. Just the thing for flabby shell fish. The palate shows more white peach, lemons, pear and apple, rounded out by some musk stick and minerals. A slight herbal lick on the finish. Excellent stuff, and it handles a bit of chili perfectly. 91 Pts.

Source: The Spanish Acquisition Cost: $35 Closure: NormaCork

Web: www.bodegascastromartin.com

Other Vintages: 2004 2005 2006

Lagar de Cervera Albariño 2007

img_4813I’ve been watching Spain…on the Road Againover the weekend (it’s on foxtel at the moment). Its a very annoying show, the gang go to these great locations and amazing restaurants, but all they seem to show is shots of the girls in convertible Mercs and mind numbingly boring conversation between Gwyneth Paltrow and Mario Batali. I’m obviously not the target audience, but the episode on Gallicia is well done and gives a good sense of the food and wine of Rias Biaxas. Worth a look if you are interesting in doing a wine and food pilgrimage to Spain…

Regardless of all that, this is a cracking albariño from 2007. I am liking the 2007s, but from what I tasted in Spain last month, 2008 looks to be a return to the ‘classic’ lean and minerally expression of Albariño from Rias Biaxas. Bring it on. This seems to have had quite a price increase since I looked at the 2005, the RRP of $45 may be stretching the wallet a bit too far given the current econmoic situation.

Light straw colour with a nose of fresh white peach, apple and lemon peel, wet slatey rocks and a touch of bay leaf. Focused and tight in the mouth, with very fine acid and just a hint of oily texture. More pear and peach in the mouth, plenty of minerals and river stones with a long finish. Very enjoyable and is a textbook example of Albariño from O-Rosal. 91 Pts.

Source: Negociants Australia RRP: $45 Closure:Screwcap

Web: www.riojalta.com/lagar.htm

Martin Codax Albariño 2007

Martin Codax 2007As much as I’d love to keep raving on about Rioja every day, Spain is a big place and there is loads of territory to cover. So Albarino it is for today, while tomorrow I’m catching up with the guys from Vega Sicilia to look at their new releases. There seems to be heaps of activity on the Spanish wine front in Australia at the moment. Anyway, this 2007 from Martin Codax is a monte for easy drinking….

Now this reminds me of the 2006 very much, mainly because there is a lot of fresh fruit notes and it has less of the driving acidity that made a bit of a return in the 2007 vintage (The 2008 vintage in Rias Baixas has produced wines that are more classic: minerally and focused, still with great fruit). Of course all of these are generalisations, and this wine has just proved that its not a good idea to take an overall impression of a vintage as gospel.

The nose kicks off with peach and pear, little white flowers and some lemon juice. Not that textured really, but it lacks a little focus and feels a bit flabby on the mid palate, this cleans up for a tight and long finish. The white peach, apple and lemon flavours are the main story in the mouth, a pin prick of acid on the finish and a nice floral tang. Very easy to drink, I’d like a tighter line here, but as fun by the glass in a bar it does the job well. 89 Pts.

Source: Broadway Liquor Distributors Price: $30 Closure: Synthetic Cork

Web: www.martincodax.com

Pazo Pondal Albariño 2007

Pazo Pondal 2007This is the big brother to the Leira, and its quite a step up. I’m not sure which sub-zone this is from but it looks and tastes like its from O’Rosal (ie similar to Valminor). This is more in the tight, minerally acid expression of albariño that I have an ever so slight preference for.

A killer nose of kaffier lime, honey suckle, white peach and lemon rind.  In the mouth there is peach and lemon with zingy, minerally acid, musk and lime leaves. Kind of like a muscular ballerina: restrained and full of pleasure, lean and fine boned. Great summer drinking. 91 Pts

Source: Broadway Liquor Distributors Price: $35 Closure: Synthetic Cork

Web: www.pazopondal.com

Pazo Pondal ‘Leira’ Albariño 2007

Leira Albarino 2007A box of white wines turned up the other day, which would be perfect if we actually had some summer weather here in Melbourne. Pazo Pondal is not a producer I have seen before, they have this wine from Condardo de Tea which is more inland and swampy than the two sub regions that most of the Albariño we see comes from: O Rosal and Val do Salnés.  There is a little sticker saying Robert Parker 90 Points on the bottle, as usual I am a few points behind…

Very floral, sweet peach, white musk, some green herbs at times, a touch of lemon candy. Just the right texture, with a peach and pear combo, a touch of funky undergrowth and plenty of minerally acid. It lacks a little direction in the mouth, but pulls it all together for a focused finish. Quite a tidy wine from Condado de Tea. 87 Pts.

Source: Broadway Liquor Distributors Price: $29 Closure: Synthetic Cork

Web: www.pazopondal.com