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2014 Albariño, Pazo de Señoráns, Rías Baixas
Frighteningly fashionable, Pazo de Señoráns is now seen as the very best Galician winery. Located at Vilanoviña, in the Pontevedra town of Meis, winery and vines alike benefit from a situation in one of Rías Baixas’ most prestigious wine-making sub-zones.
The vines are farmed at relatively low altitudes, not too far from the sea, with the soils influenced accordingly by sandy elements. Vinification is in stainless steel and bottling is early. The result is a wine of great aromatic harmony, with distinctive notes of late-season apples, fennel and a hint of verbena;
Albariño is one of the most distinctive white wine grapes in Spain. Its heartlands are in Galacia, in Spain's rain- sodden north-west, and in Portugal`s Vinho Verde region, where it is known as Alvarinho and Cainho Branco. In the past, it was commonly mixed with other local grapes such as Loureiro, Godello, Caiño, Arinto or Treixadura to produce blended wines, but since the mid 1980s the grape's full potential has been realised and appreciated for single varietal bottlings.
Its thick skin enables it to withstand the damp climate of Galicia and the subsequent fruit is small, sweet and high in glycerol, producing wines high in alcohol and acidity.
High quality Albariño dominated wines are intensely aromatic and redolent of peaches, apricots and almonds on the palate. They have the ability to age gracefully and many growers are now experimenting with oak maturation. The finest Albariño wines come from the Rias Baixas DOC of Galicia. Albariño is also produced in California wine regions including the Santa Ynez Valley & Los Carneros AVAs.
Nestled in the south-west corner of Galicia on the Atlantic coast bordering Portugal's Vinho Verde region, Rias Baixas has firmly established itself as the star region of modern Spanish white wines. Production is mostly small scale, labour-intensive and dominated by family-run bodegas, all of which contributes to the high-quality, idiosyncratic character of the wines.
Albariño (aka Alvarinho in Vinho Verde) is the dominant grape in the region, robust and thick-skinned enough to withstand the local cool, humid, maritime conditions. It yields intensely aromatic wines evocative of almonds, peaches and citrus-peel scents with elegant, grassy overtones. Albariño is ideally enjoyed in its youth and is particularly suited to seafood due to its crisp acidity and clean, pure fruit.
It is sometimes also blended with other Galician grapes - the perfumed Treixadura or the herbal-scented Loureira, for example - but it is as a single varietal wine that it really shines, unoaked and fermented in steel tanks to retain its streak of youthful fruit and vitality.