8 July 2017

A tale of Albarino

I've recently fallen a bit in love with a glass of Albarino and feel the need to spread the word.

Traditionally, this grape is grown in the warm and wet region of Galicia in Spain. With the finest Albarino wines coming from Rias Baixas DOC of Spain.

It is light, crisp, citrusy and perfect as an aperitif or with shellfish. So if you like a White Rioja, why not try a different Spanish Style give this grape a glug?

We went on holiday to Spain recently and I was really hoping to try lots of this style of wine. Maybe we were in the wrong area or perhaps the wrong type of resort, but I didn't see a single Albarino in a supermarket. An absolute travesty! 

So back here in the UK, here's a few I've recently enjoyed.

Definition Albarino 2016

I'm a big fan of the Majestic Definition range. It's their own label wine and most of the range that I've tried has been pretty good quality for the price. 

This Albarino is really light, fresh and has a lovely citrus bite. Pretty pure and not overly complex, this wine is dangerously drinkable and a confident crowd pleaser. At £11.99 a bottle, it's the most expensive I've tried but I would say worth the extra pennies.

Tres Mares Albarino

Available from Waitrose at £9.99, this wine has a bit more depth than the definition one. Slightly more golden in the glass, this Rias Baixas Albarino has an apple bite of acidity. 

Some Albarino wines can be unapproachably aromatic, but this one is definitely lighter and more easy drinking.

Medusa Albarino 2016

Priced at £9.99 from Majestic, this wine has easily the most attractive bottle design out of all the ones I've tried. It is also the most complex with more aromatic and peach notes and definitely more of a honey colour in the glass.

For me, this fresh, fruity wine is best served cold and will probably be your glass of wine if you like something off dry with ripe fruit flavours.

Carlos Rodrigues Albarino

This lip smacking Albarino is available from Naked Wines for £9.99. I first tried this at the Naked Wines Tasting tour in 2016 and I definitely went back to Carlos' table for more than one taste! 

It's crisp, fresh and full of apple and pear flavours. Again, serve ice cold and this clear, light coloured wine will definitely not disappoint. I can practically smell the salty air of the sea as I drink this. Definitely zesty, definitely refreshing and one to try. (apologies for the photo, my phone is broken, normal service will resume shortly).

So, if you haven't given this grape a go, I'd really urge you to. Grab yourself a glass, close your eyes and imagine you're on a breezy terrace in Sunny Spain with a plate of salty squid in front of you. And, if there are any you think I should try, then just let me know and I'll add to my list. Cheers!

30 June 2017

A day of wine tasting near Vias

We recently went to Vias in the Languedoc region of France to visit my parents who own a place there. And my Dad took us for a morning of wine tasting. 
Me tasting some wines
at Domaine Saint

Dad had been to a wine tasting fayre in Agde the month before called "Vinocap" and had met several wine producers at the event and wanted us to see what we thought.

So we set off in the car and with the help of google maps, found our first Vineyard. The lovely thing about driving around this part of France is that, even when you're lost, the journey is an absolute delight. Beautiful green scenery, unspoiled coastlines and villages that are a snapshot of history.

The first stop was Domaine Saint Hilaire which is near Pezenas and Beziers.
Even though we hadn't made an appointment, we couldn't have been made
One of my fave wines
more welcome. Izabela took the time to go through all of the wines in the range and even tasted everything with us which made it seem such a more convivial experience.

We ended up buying several cases because everything was so delicious. Particular delights for me were there Voignier Vermentino which was very crisp and dry and perfectly suited to the amazingly hot day and would be great with spaghetti Vongole. We also bought several bottles of their Cabernet/Merlot blend which was called Silk - packed with soft tannins and cherry ripe fruit (I think this has been renamed to Le Baron now). And, of course, they had a fabulous Picpoul de Pinet since the vineyard is
technically within the designated appellation. 

Certainly not the cheapest end of the scale but this place is absolutely spectacular and the wines are top notch. As we were leaving, a group of very wealthy looking Americans arrived for lunch and I literally felt like we were on a movie set! 

I've noticed on their website that they also do tastings with Tapas and other similar packages so worth perhaps booking in advance as these have great reviews on Trip Advisor.

The next vineyard we stopped off at was closed. I guess that's the risk you run from arriving without booking. But, that was all of the fun from our perspective!
Outside beautiful
Saint Hilaire

So then we drove onto Domaine du Bosc. We didn't get quite such a warm welcome, but I think we might have interrupted their lunch (and the French love their lunch!). But the sign did say they were open all day and the lady warmed up as the tasting went on.

What was lovely about this place was all the artwork and the amazing gardens. The whole vineyard is on Volcanic soil which was previously under the water and apparently this gives the wines a unique flavour. But everywhere around the tasting room and gardens
are fossil relics and other beautiful, unique pieces of artwork.

We particularly enjoyed both of the rose wines we tried. But we especially enjoyed the Petit Verdot 2015 Le Rosé du Cap which was very fresh, crisp and would be perfect as an aperitif. We also tried some lovely reds and a really nice desert style wine which was like Christmas Pudding in a glass called Grande Réserve 2004 Le Bosc.

All in all, it was a great way to spend the morning, especially if you are staying
The Courtyard at Le Bosc
in Vias as both wineries were only within 20 minutes drive of Vias Plage. But while we were driving, we went past dozens of signs for tasting rooms and we tried lots of delicious wines while in the area so you really are spoilt for choice.

Thanks for organising it Dad! Time to start planning the next one!

Last time we stayed in the area, we visited Domaine de Virgile Joly in Saint Saturnin which you can read about here and The O'Connells near to Carcasonne which you can read about here.