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An Albarino For All Seasons

Spain today is so much more than just the land of the bullfighter and the flamenco dancer. It has become very fashionable in the world of food and wine. And while there may not be a Spanish wine with a name that has the power Ferran Adria, Albarino is not that far away.

A native of Galicia in the northwest corner of the Iberian Peninsula, Albarino is Spain’s pre-eminent white wine grape. With crisp flavors and ocean freshness, its wines are graceful and confident and so unique to their terroir that today they command top dollar at the world’s best tables.

While there is no shortage of very good albarinos produced in the Rias Baixas, one in particular caught our eye: Zarate in the Val de Salnes.

The Zarate winemaking tradition dates back to the 18th century. Seven generations later, in the 1950’s, Ernesto Zarate introduced vinification techniques that make the Zarate Albarino what it is today. He felt strongly that the century-old vines in each of the 11 family vineyards, with carefully controlled yields, should express the true character of grape and provenance. variety.

Since 2000, under the helm of Eulogio Pomares, the Zarate wines have soared in quality. The vineyards are completely biodynamic and Eulogio is consistently improving the vineyards and his winemaking techniques.

Zarate makes two albarinos. There is the Tras da Vina, which is richer, creamier and livelier, midly honeyed hinting subtly at white burgundy. And there is the Zarate Albarino, pure Albarino grape, strongly mineral, snug and firm, much more impressive than it’s paler counterparts. It is fresh and elegant, the wine’s natural acidity and minerality, key elements to its balance and structure.

Both wines pair exceptionally well with seafood.