ALT WHITES: PART 2

We embraced the whites from northwestern Spain immediately when we first started seeing a lot of them in the mid-90s. We’re still big fans but it is important to know that all such wines are not created equal. They can be riveting and bright, but can also be dull or over acidic. The right ones, as an aperitif or particularly with seafood, can be magic. We try a lot of them that you will never hear about because the range for success is a narrow one, and we think they should be reasonably priced to boot. With that in mind here are a couple of choices that work for us on all the required levels and, in fact, are repeat performers here.

Back when we started selling Albarinos, we had to explain to people what they were. Now enough people have had them to know what they are about. Styles and performance can vary widely given the producer, the volume, and where the vineyard is relative to the sea among other things. The Turonia Albarino Rias Baixas 2017 once again has everything we are looking for and delivers at a price that is easy to swallow. Somewhere between a Viognier and a Riesling in personality, the wine shows white stone fruit, lime, some spice and floral notes, and a refreshing finishing salinity with some fruit volume up-front and lift throughout.

Perhaps a bit harder to explain is the Eduardo Peña Ribeiro Blanco 2017. Ribiero is a small area inland from Raixas Bias and north of Portugal that specializes in unique blended whites. The rock star of the region is one called Emilio Rojo that is on most of the Michelin restaurant lists in Spain but costs in the $40-50 range. The Edward Pena gives you a very fine example of this genre for a lot less money.

The Edward Pena is a blend of Treixadura, Albariño, Godello, Lado and Loureira macerated and fermented in 300-liter European oak barrels. Pale yellow in color with golden highlights, the nose is a complex melange of lemon, bay leaf and orange blossom aromas, and tropical scents such as pineapple and mango. Peach and apricot, some honied tones, minerals and light balsamic smoky touch, it’s a bit broader on the palate than the ‘coastal’ whites but still has deceptive lift. An intriguing genre here that should have more followers but that’s because few people have seen these wines.