Wine review: Vionta 2008 Albarino Rias Baixas

albarino vines in rias baixasI’m a rabid fan of the refreshing Spanish white, albariño, especially after visiting the region a few years ago. Since it rains all the time in this grape’s homeland of Rias Baixas in the northwestern corner of Spain (just above Portugal), vineyard managers must grow their fruit far above the ground to prevent the fruit from drowning. And they can’t use wooden stakes as posts since they would rot. Instead, they employ granite or stone to hold up the vines and their canopy. Grapepickers must stoop under the canopies to harvest, making hand-harvesting an expensive necessity. Thus, the price of many albariños can be a bit higher than the mechanical harvested grapes of other regions. But they are worth it!

Vionta, where the above picture was taken, makes a traditional style albariño, with a floral aroma and a flavor that bursts with bright citrus like tangerine and lime and white cherry. It’s light-bodied, food-friendly, minerally and tart but not puckeringly so like NZ sauvignon blanc but it shares its crispness and high acidity. Simply delicious, even at $18.

Sweetness: 1 out of 10
Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5
: $18-$20
: Tasted blind at a private wine tasting but was sent from the winery as a sample.
Food pairing: Seafood dishes of any sort, except oily fish like salmon or swordfish
Availability: Fine wine shops


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