Albariño's crisp clean flavors are extremely versatile. Seafood, clams, oysters are what the local Galician people eat with this queenly grape. It also pairs like magic with Sushi, Indian, or Thai. Other pairings that are successful include hard-to-pair, popular take-out meals like cold sesame noodles, chicken tikka masala, pad thai, and tacos.
Made from 100% Albariño grapes tended in granite soil. The vineyards are located next to the Miño river in Galicia (North West of Spain) within the Condado de Tea subzone of Rias Baixas. Out of the 5 Subzones of Rias Baixas, Condado de Tea is the most southern subzone and furthest from the Atlantic Ocean. The North East of Spain is known for making the best white wines in the Iberian Peninsula. Out of the 200+ indigenous grapes found in this area, Albariño is the queen. She sustains the farmers of the region. Columna is a very unique expression of this queenly grape due to its southern and interior location – resulting in a style that is bright, floral mineral and at the same time rich. The vineyards that produce this outstanding expression of Albariño are tended in the local popular Emparrado trellis system, which was invented by the Romans during the 2nd century to maximize air circulation allowing for a better drier ripening season. The winemaker Rodri Mendez is no less than Raul Perez disciple and right hand man. In fact Columna is vinified in the same winery were Sketch (the under the water wine) is produced. The goal in producing Columna is to showcase the purity of the Albariño grape in a 100% unoaked style from a unique micro-clime that produces richer fuller often more balanced Albariño wines.
White grapes are used in two famous types of Spanish wine, Sherry and Cava, but we will limit this discussion to still whites. Let’s begin with perhaps the best known and most highly regarded internationally, Albariño . Produced in the region of Rías Baixas, just above Portugal in northwestern Spain, Albariño typically sees no or little oak and is medium to medium-plus in body. Aroma and flavor notes often include citrus and peach, often with subtle floral notes and a suggestion of sea spray, giving the wine a zesty feel. Often bottled as a single varietal, Albariño is sometimes blended with other indigenous grapes like Loureira and Treixadura. Try one of these Spanish whites from Forjas del Salnes.
Let’s look at a few other Spanish white wines. Godello also hails from northwestern Spain and presents a profile of grapefruit, minerality and a slight smoky quality. Enjoy a bottle from Bodegas Avancia. The region of Rueda, northwest of Madrid, is home to Verdejo , which makes refreshing, un-oaked white wines whose herbal vibrancy recalls Sauvignon Blanc . Protos makes a tasty version. Up north in the Basque region, we find the wine called Txakoli (sometimes called Txakolina). Pronounced “sha-ko-LEE,” it’s made from a local grape called Hondurrabi Zuri and is light, fresh, citrusy, dry … and with razor sharp acidity that makes it a fantastic partner with local seafood and tapas. Ameztoi Gertariako is a good Spanish white wine producer to check out.
The Penedѐs region, best known for the oceans of delicious Cava it sends to the world, also produces still Spanish whites, sometimes from international varieties like Chardonnay , and often from the same grapes used for Cava. These include Parellada, Xarel-lo and Macabeo. Avaline produces a fine example of Penedes white. Finally, we visit the Rioja region. While it is historically and internationally famous for its reds, Rioja also produces fine Spanish white wines. These are usually based on Viura (the local name for Macabeo) and make good everyday sippers, although some aged versions can be stunningly complex. A good place to start is the white Rioja from Bodegas Muga.
As you can see, Spanish white wines offer a vast opportunity for exploration!