January’s Superstar Wine of the Month
Spain can be pretty hot and dry, which is lovely for a holiday but really good vines will be a bit more demanding. Sunshine is good, but moisture is important too, and happily can be found in the green and mountainous northwest corner of Spain, known as Galicia. The steep slopes so suitable for the vines are forged by the deep, wide inlets from the Atlantic Ocean, known as rias. The southern-most group of these are called the Rias Biaxas; hence the Denominación de Origen, Rias Baixas.
The best known white grape variety grown here is Albariño. This produces dry, mineral, white wines that match the local fish recipes impeccably. Albariño is sometimes blended with other local grapes such as Loureiro and Treixadura for a slightly more complex and internationally appealing wine, but today, we are tasting a pure Albariño from the coolest part of the region, Ribera do Ulla, home to the best white wines of Spain
The city of Santiago de Compostela has been a destination for pilgrims since the Middle Ages. They would travel all the way from France, along the “Way of St James” to the shrine of St. James in the Cathedral at Santiago de Compostela. This holy, famous journey has been the subject of many books and television programmes, including Brian Sewell’s The Naked Pilgrim. Pilgrims gained the right to free accommodation in various locations all along the Way of St James, from France to the town of Santiago itself. They needed to produce a “compostela” or letter, stamped with the Papal seal to show their authenticity. Doubtless, once they arrived they’d be in need of a nice refreshing glass of Albariño!
Our superstar wine, the Bodega Gómez y Rial Albariño Compostelae 2010, is bright and clear, pale gold in colour. It has lovely fruity and floral aromas: orange peel, chamomile, a little caramel even, along with some mineral notes – whiffs of the seaside if you like. The body is medium-light and there is a soft, lingering texture. Always the sign of a good wine, there is a lovely balance is between the alcohol, citrus fruit flavours and mineral acidity. The finish is persistent and aromatic. If you are dining on a fresh seafood risotto or octopus salad, this Albariño will most certainly be welcomed at your table and quickly feel a part of the family!
Matching: Seafood, vegetables, rice, Oriental style meals and spicy food.
Available at £13.50/bottle from our website.
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