In all honesty, and let’s get it out of the way, I am not hugely familiar the Albariño grape variety.
Yes, I passed the WSET Diploma and was even interviewed by WSET Global, so I’ve tasted my share of Rias Baixas wines and have always found them very interesting, both fruity and mineral, crisp but deep as well.
But I just don’t have access to many Spanish or Portuguese Albariño wines to have continued actively-enough exploring the intriguing world of this grape variety.
Still, to celebrate 2017 Albarino days (August 2d to 7th), and help spreading the word about its wines, I thought I would share a recent and surprising experience I had with it, and a couple of wines I appreciated.
Planting Albarino in France!?!
My attention was brought back onto the grape when I visited Laurent Miquel, a wine producer based in the Languedoc wine region and discovered that he has embarked on planting and producing Albarino wine in Corbières.
It is a very rare move for any French wine producer to plant foreign grape varieties in the country. It feels even bolder of a move considering Languedoc is mainly known for producing red wines, as well as rosés obviously.
Although, Laurent Miquel is famous for being one of the few wineries in the region known and well-respected for their whites, their Vérité Viognier in particular.
See Where Laurent Miquel grows Albarino in Languedoc – Video
Laurent Miquel’s Albarino
Tasting Laurent Miquel’s Albarino though, all doubts dissipated in my mind, and proof was given that Albarino can grow very successfully in the South of France too, and produce very interesting wine.
The thing is, Corbières is in general a relatively warm climate dominated by the close-by Mediterranean, therefore with a warm and dry Mediterranean climate.
But Laurent Miquel’s estate called Les Auzines, is located towards the Eastern side of the appellation, where more cooling Oceanic influences are perceived. In addition, the vineyards are high above the village of Lagrasse at a relatively high altitude for the area. Soils are made of cool limestone as well. The results is cool microclimate well-suited to growing white grapes.
As I described it, Laurent Miquel’s Albarino is: “An excellent and serious crisp white wine rather dense and packed full of fresh flavors, that delivers much of what you expect from a solid white, yet that feels you can enjoy it lightly without complications.”
Find the full wine description, tasting notes, and 88/100 pts rating at 2015 Laurent Miquel Albarino, Lagrasse – Languedoc, France or click on the image below
A Portuguese Albarinho I also enjoyed
It is a “A very well-balanced, crisp, and vibrant white wine, driven by the freshness of its mineral, saline acidity and lime flavors, but augmented by many layers of depth and elegant flavors you can taste for a long time after tasting.
Concentrated and very well executed, a great example of how solid Albarinho can be beyond the acidic and refreshing style.”
Find the full wine description, tasting notes, and 88/100 pts rating at 2015 Quinta de Paços Casa do Capitão-Mor Alvarinho, Vinho Verde or click on the image below: