More like, Albarin-yes! 12/10/10
Raise your hand if you’ve heard of Albariño before. I’m going to assume none of you has a hand up, since even if you have heard of the grape – which most of you probably haven’t – there’s really no sane reason to comply with a request like that, given I made it through text and all. What? Somebody’s hand is raised? Shame on you. You look ridiculous.
Anyway, Albariño is a sorely underappreciated white wine varietal here in the States, but it’s the most widely planted grape (of any color) in Spain, which is a country in Europe. Albariño is seldom blended with other varietals and usually drunk young, when it tends to exhibit strong aromas of ripe peach and apricot.
Today I’ll be discussing the Martin Codax 2009 Albariño from Rias Baixas, Spain, averaging about $15 a bottle online. This one should also be readily available at a wine store near you, as Bodegas Martin Codax is one of the more prominent exporters of Spanish wine to the US – I’m recalling a summer excursion to a North Carolina Harris Teeter (think Southern Wegmans) wherein the 2008 Codax was, in fact, the only Albariño for sale.
This wine bears the notable distinction of being the second I’ve reviewed to employ a metal screw cap, rather than a cork (and the first wine I’ve thought to mention this about). I’m more or less neutral as far as the cork/synth-cork/metal debate is concerned, but I just had to share my intense amusement at a waiter’s fruitless (and surprisingly plural) attempts to open this bottle with a corkscrew.
In the glass the wine was a pale straw color, with the slightest green tinge signifying its youth. The nose was predominantly citrus (I’m thinking mostly lemon), but after some time to breathe notes of apple and peach shone through, as well as – and feel free to call me crazy for smelling red fruit in a white wine – strawberry.
On the palate the Albariño was light and crisp, tart on the attack with citrus flavors that evolved into fruitier apple. The finish had some nice astringency (dryness) which I’m going to call pear skin, but the alcohol (12.5%) was a bit too pronounced, leaving a slightly hot aftertaste. I didn’t really taste any strawberry, nor the peach or apricot so characteristic of the varietal, which was a little disappointing.
Even so, this is undoubtedly a nice, refreshing wine, and I would definitely recommend it if you’re a fan of fruity whites (no, not that kind…). It pairs very well with poultry, so if you’re planning a turkey or pheasant dinner sometime in the near future, this might be a good choice.
I award the Martin Codax 2009 Albariño a respectable thumbs up.