Friday, April 15, 2016

Terroir and Albarino of Val do Salnes

You probably hear the word Terrior thrown around when discussing wine but what does it really mean?

Terroir is the environmental factors that will effect a wine. Each region will has different soil and even within a vineyard there can be different soils and micro climates. In the Rias Baixas region there are 9,000 acres of vines with more than 6,500 growers and 20,000 individual vineyard plots.

I am going to talk a little about the Terroir of the Val do Salnes region of Rias Baixas, Spain and what it brings to the wine.

The Val do Salnes is the birthplace of the Albarino grape and the oldest, coolest and wettest sub-region of Rias Baixas. The soil has a lot of granite in it and is rocky with alluvial top soil. Alluvial is loose soil or sediments which have been eroded by water and relocated in a non marine area.  The soils are also enriched in the traditional manner by digging in shells of local mollusk. Molluscs that you will be familiar with are snails, clams, mussels, squid and octopods. This gives the wine the minerality that you will taste in various degrees.


What I find interesting is their canopy management.  That is the way the vines grow and the grapes are exposed to the sun. What you are most custom to look at is vertical shoot positioning, where the vines kind of grow towards the sky and the grape clusters hang down.  Here they use the "emparrado" method which looking at it you would think it was a pergola.They are up to 7 feet high.

I have now set the scene for the wine.  The two wines I am going to talk about are in the sub-region of Val do Salnes around the town of Camdados.


2015 Gran Vinum Nessa Albarino  Located on the hillside overlooking the river Umia and the Ria de Arosa near Cambados, one sip and the words elegant and sexy came to mind.  Elegant like their 25 year old vines the wine had aromas full of minerals, and lime.  It was very fresh!  The palate was light and bright full of pear, wet rocks (minerality), nice acidity and a touch of orange on the finish. This is a great summer drinking wine and it retails for $17.  The suggested serving temperature is 54 degrees.

2014 Martin Codax Albarino - This winery is a co-op of 300+ growers/families who supply the grapes for the wine. The grapes come from very small plots that are under strict quality control. This Albarino was a bit different from the above. A little more mature. The first aroma to escape my glass were white flowers, then hints of straw and a mix of flint and citrus.  Flavors of tangerine on the palate followed by lime and a hint of pear with a slight bitterness on the finish.  This wine retails for $16.99

Don't think I didn't pair this with anything.  These two wines I paired with take-out mussels in a Red Thai Curry Sauce from 5 West Pub.  I probably should have gotten the oil and garlic but wanted to see how the Albarino would pair with the spice.  The Codax paired better with the mussels.  It had a bit more fruitiness to it so it mixed with the spice of the sauce better.

All in all two very good Albarinos I would look for in your liquor store or wine shop. Great for summer!

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