Spotlight on Rías Baixas
Tucked up in the northwest corner of Spain, the verdant region of Rías Baixas is believed to be ground zero for the ancient Albariño grape. Without a doubt, it is the cradle of modern-day benchmarks. The wines capture the salty sea air and mineral-rich granitic soil with a juxtaposing tropical fruit twist. They pair seamlessly with all sorts of creatures from the ocean and just as easily with the humble potato chip. Refreshment value is high, so it is difficult not to crack an Albariño immediately. However, a recent tasting revealed that Rías Baixas’ charms are not just short-lived.
Granbazán Etiqueta Ambar, 2019, Rías Baixas, Spain ($24.70 SAQ)
In Rías Baixas’ dampest and lowest altitude subregion of Val do Salnés, Granbazán is just a stone’s throw from the Atlantic Ocean. It is beautifully forward and fresh with fleshy apple and peach on a steely, salty backbone. This cleanses the mouth while stimulating the appetite begging for crudo, sashimi or any raw fish treat. Perfect for slaking a thirst.
Adegas Valmiñor Davila O Rosal, 2018, Rías Baixas, Spain ($23.99 BC LS)
Near the Miño River which separates Spain from Portugal, the O Rosal subzone is characterized by terraced vineyards on metamorphic schist. Davila blends Albariño with the balsamic-edged Treixadura and the bay-laurel scented Loureiro. White blossoms and an earthiness give nuance to guava and apricot. It is textural and tactile with zippy acidity and a decidedly stoniness finish.
Fillaboa Finca Monte Alto, 2015, Rías Baixas, Spain ($31.50 SAQ; $39.99 BC LS)
Sitting inland between the Miño and Tea rivers, the hilly expanse of Condado do Tea is Rías Baixas’ warmest and driest district. A single vineyard bottling, Monte Alto hails from the estate’s highest and sunniest plot. Along with tropical fruit, time in the bottle has given this a salted nougat nuttiness. It’s savoury and umami with a mouth filling creaminess countered by zesty, citrusy acidity. Will stand up to substantial fare like oily fish, chicken or pork.