Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Pazo Serantellos Albariño (2010)

Generally speaking, Galicia is perhaps best known for its seafood.  An autonomous region in northwest Spain, Galicia is surrounded on two sides by the Atlantic Ocean.  This long coastline provides the perfect setting for a vibrant seafood industry.  Local D.C. chef, José Andrés, filmed one of the episodes of his P.B.S. series, Made in Spain, in this region.  During his visit, Andrés took time to not only learn about the seafood of Galicia, but also about its wines.

One such wine is the white wine known as Albariño.  The origins of this this wine, and the grape of the same name, are a little unclear.  According to legend, as recounted by Wikipedia, Cluny monks are said to have brought the Albariño grapes to northwest Spain during the Middle Ages.  Whatever the origins, growers cultivate the grape in Galicia, such as in the Rías Baixas region, as well in the regions of Monção and Melgaço in northern Portugal.

Perhaps the most interesting thing about Albariño is that the grapes are grown and trained on high trellis, far from the ground.  This practice helps to prevent the rotting of the grapes but it also serves another beneficial purpose ... allowing farmers to cultivate other vegetables or livestock underneath the trellises. 

The Pazo Serantellos is a value buy when it comes to Albariño at only $9.99 a bottle. Although it is cheap, the Pazo Serantellos is still a good wine.  I could not find anything about the grower or the winery.  So, I'll just move on to the wine itself.  The Albariño pours a color that resembles apple juice, with only a little fermentation.  The aromatic elements suggest apples, along with other fruit, such as nectarines or white peaches.  The taste of the wine is refreshing, dry, crisp, with a good acidity, that emphasizes apples and a little minerality. 

As you can guess, this wine pairs well with seafood and other light dishes.  I used this wine, both as an ingredient and as a pairing, for Vieiras con Albariño or Scallops with Albariño Wine.  This dish is from José Andrés' cookbook, Made in Spain

One last note, Albariño wines do not age well.  Consequently, these are not wines that you want to buy and leave in the basement for a couple of years.  Albariño wines are best enjoyed at young ages.  So, a wine like the 2010 Pazo Serantellos Albariño is ready to drink right now.  As I noted, this wine should be available at wine stores with a good selection, as well as supermarkets like Whole Foods Markets.


For more about Albariño grapes, check out Wikipedia.

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