A Look Back at Albariño Day

*** I received this wine as a sample. ***

Albariño DayMay 9th was Albariño Day, so I when I left for work in the morning, I made sure to ask Chef Hubby to plan a seafood dinner to go with my wine for the night.  He teased me about not living in a restaurant, but thankfully, he’s used to my quirky food requests.  He emailed me to say that he hoped grilled sesame teriyaki tuna steak and roasted asparagus would go with the wine I had planned, and while I didn’t know for sure, it sounded good to me.

As soon as I arrived home, Hubby started on dinner, while I pulled out my two bottles of Albariño and my computer.  The wines I had—a 2011 Condes de Albarei and a 2010 Torre la Moreira—were both 100% Albarino and from Rias Baixas, which is in Northwest Spain near the Atlantic Ocean.

2010 Torre la Moreira Albariño

2010 Torre la Moreira Albariño

The 2010 Torre la Moreira (winery) was a light greenish-yellow.  On the nose, there were apricots, granny smith apples, and Asian pears with the slightest hint of white flowers and honeysuckle.  In the mouth, there were granny smith apples, Asian pears, and hints of thyme and salinity.  The wine had a light body with a bright acidity.  There was a touch of sweetness followed by an almost bitter minerality on the finish that gave the wine a fresh character that I love in Rias Baixas wines while offering something unique.

Is this worth a glass after work?  Definitely!  If you see this wine in the store, grab it; you won’t be disappointed.   At an SRP of $13, this wine is not just really good, it’s really good with a wonderful quality/price ratio.  And, by pairing this wine with the grilled sesame teriyaki tuna steak and roasted asparagus, I took a slightly above average wine and dinner and made both out of this world.

Overall: 4.5 Corks

2011 Condes de Albarei Albariño

2011 Condes de Albarei Albariño

The 2011 Condes de Albarei (winery) was a light greenish yellow.  On the nose, there were pears and flowers.  In the mouth, there was salt, followed by limes and tart granny smith apples.  The wine had a light body, bright acidity, and a lot of minerality.

Is this worth a glass after work? At an SRP of $13, this wine was good, but the salinity was a little much and left me feeling like I had licked a salt block.  Because of that, this wine was not a good pairing with the tuna steak and asparagus.  In fact, I think this is a wine that might go well with cheese or really lightly flavored white fish, but otherwise is probably a wine best enjoyed on its own.

Overall: 3 Corks

In talking to some casual wine drinker friends, Albariño seems to be one of those wines people see in the store, but are often too unfamiliar with to give a try.  I had never tasted an Albariño before taking my wine classes, but they quickly became a summer favorite for me because they offer something a little different from the more common white options like a Sauvignon Blanc or Pinot Grigio.  In fact, the salinity of Rias Baixas wines is what draws me to them because it reminds of the ocean, vacation, and summer.  To be fair to these two wines, trying the Condes de Albarei at the same time as the Torre la Moreira probably just emphasized the differences between a wine that I loved and one that was just average for me.  That said, they were both wonderful ways to celebrate Albariño Day.  And, if you haven’t tried an Albariño, what are you waiting for?  The hot weather is here (or at least it is in DC), so give one a try!

Question of the Day:  Have you ever tried Albariño?  Was it a Spanish wine or from somewhere else?  What did you think of it?

Received as a sample.

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