Wine Blogging Wednesday #70 Spain!: Vionta 2009 Albariño

It’s been a while since Wine Blogging Wednesday (WBW) appeared here on Undertaking Wine.  It went on hiatus, but after much chatter and finally announcing , in so many words, “back – by popular demand”, Wine Blogging Wednesday has made it’s triumphant return.

Wine Blogging Wednesday — started by Lenn Thompson of the New York Cork Report –was a way for bloggers and wine enthusiast to gather via their blog or more recently via micro-blogging like on twitter and taste wine based on a subject or topic created by the host.  If you think about it, world-wide, everyone tasting wine then talking about it is a way for people to meet, get to know each other and more importantly, explore a region or wine with others and discover a wine they have never had before.

When I started to follow wine blogs, I loved reading the follow-ups on Wine Blogging Wednesdays.  I always found them educational and it also opened up my google reader to new and exciting blogs.

When I finally decided to join the blogging world, I was excited to participate in Wine Blogging Wednesday officially as a blogger in September 2009.  When it vanished in May of 2010, there was a hole in my blogging world.

I am glad it’s back – because in all reality, Wine Blogging Wednesday was one of the many reason I created this blog.

When word was spread that WBW was returning, it was announced that Catavio, husband and wife team, Ryan and Gabriella, blogging pioneers living and loving Spain, would be hosting, the turned to their neck of the woods — Spain.  They came up with the following points we must try to uncover in WBW #70: Spain!:

  • Choose a Spanish wine or wines to taste on Wednesday the 16th of February.
  • Seek out Spanish wines that you’ve never had before! Get creative! Hunt for unique styles such as a Sherry, Cava, Fondillon or Mistella; an unheard of region like Arribes, Txakoli de Alava or Extremadura; or a unique native grape like Prieto Picudo or Treixadura.
  • Write a post about the wine, flushing it out with life and subtle detail, then publish it on Wednesday, February 16th.
  • Tweet about it with the tag: #WBW70 thus creating a live tasting by time zone as we go around the globe!
  • Finally, send an email to us with a link to your article and include the subject line: “WBW #70 Submission

The second point was easy for me to do.  I have had very little experience with Spanish wine.  I immediately hit my Jancis Robinson’s “The Oxford Companion to Wine and examined Spain.

My first attempt was to taste and explore Amontillado, a spanish Sherry.  I am an Edgar Allen Poe fan, and I had the post developing in my head around a Bottle or “Cask of Amontillado“…I just needed the wine.  The Amontillado was hard to come by other than the standard $10 bottle.  I wanted something more than that.  When my escapades fell through, I decided to focus on a wine region of Spain that would be kinda like my home region of Long Island.  The Rias Biaxas region jumped right out of the page.

Rías Baixas region of Spain is located in the Pontevedra, community of Galicia, Spain.  It is on the coast of norther Spain, just north of Portugal.  They have and atlantic climate, since they are on Atlantic Ocean.  Rain fall is high and they have damp, wet winters.  They are a cool climate region and might be considered maritime considering how close they are to ocean waters, like Long Island.  When I investigated the wines of the region, I found that there is only one major variety — a variety that I have never had before, until tonight.  That major variety grows in 90% in the Rías Baixas region and that variety is Albariño.

By choosing Albariño, I knew this I was going to have fun with it for my WBW post.  I always try to make a connection to my home wine country, Long Island.  And this year Palmer Vineyards grew and made Albariño and Bedell Cellars planted some this off-season.  While there may not be a lot to go around, I thought that if I ever had the chance to taste it, I would know and have some experience with the variety.

Rumor has it that the Albariño grapes were brought to Iberia by the Cluny monks in the 12th Century.  Albariño translated means “white wine from Rhine”.  It has been thought that this was a clone of Riesling coming from the Alsace region of France.  It is also believed to be a close relative of the Petit Menseng.  I could see how this variety could be confused with the Riesling variety.  You will notice this in my notes as some of the aromas were very similar to the Riesling grape.

I searched my local wine shop for Albariño from the Rías Baixas region of Spain.  I was also looking for a price point under $20.00.  I was very happy to find this bottle of Vionta 2009 Albariño ($14.99).  I was scoring on all fronts.  Now lets hope I would be an  Albariño fan.

On the nose I was picking up some apple, melon, mango and hints of white peach.  There was a sweet honey-like aroma that I could not distinguish.  There was also a nutty, almost blanched almond like note.  There was a floral hint that reminded me white flowers, but it was not overpowering at all, subtle and enticing.  As it warmed to room temperature there was a bit of a spice note with a dusting of white pepper.

The palate brought bright tingling acidity with hints of lemon curd, minerality and tropical  citrus juice.  Notes of baked apple and mango finished the wine that came across as almost lush.

The finish brought a bit of fresh herb and some spice with a hint of salty ocean water essence.

The wine was distinct, with a nice fruit finish with a hint of fresh garden herb.  It carried for a while and I kept finding myself reaching for another sip.

If I had tasted this wine blind I may have thought it was a Riesling or even Viognier.  I could have also guessed it was an old Gewürztraminer with a touch of steel fermented Chardonnay.  Distinct and exotic with nuance, it really captured my attention and more importantly, my palate.

I am mad at myself for taking so long to discover this Iberian gem.  Lessons learned.  Albariño is a wine that will appear on my table this upcoming summer.  But on this cold and windy February night here on Long Island.  This wine was perfect and what this house was looking for.

Mission accomplished!  Wine Blogging Wednesday #70: Spain! was a success.  I have discovered a new grape.  Explored a new country.  Finished a delicious and affordable bottle.  Exposed my family to this grape and most importantly, found a variety other then Pinto Grigio that my Mother-In-Law likes. I can’t wait to try some of Long Island’s Albariño when and if it is ever bottled and released.

Special thanks to Ryan and Gabriella at Catavio for hosting and especially to Lenn Thompson of The New York Cork Report for giving life to Wine Blogging Wednesday.  Let’s keep this going!

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About Michael Gorton, Jr.

I am a Licensed Funeral Director who is having a love affair with Long Island Wine and the people that make Long Island wine so special. I am married to my wife Melissa and live in Rocky Point. Our first son Gabriel Noel was born on July 27, 2010. We have three cats and one dog.
This entry was posted in 2009, Albariño, Spain, Wine Blogging Wednesday. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Wine Blogging Wednesday #70 Spain!: Vionta 2009 Albariño

  1. Pingback: Wine Blog Wednesday #70 Wrap-Up: Reaching Out of Your Comfort Zone with Spanish Wines | Catavino

  2. Katy George says:

    I’m going abroad to Spain for the year in a couple days and it’s great to read some posts on Spanish wine! I’m an Oregonian, so I’m used to hyper-local, delicious vino, and I’ve been looking for some tasty recommendations. I’m ashamed to say I’ve never even heard of Albariño, but I’ll definitely have to give it a shot after this.

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