While I was busy neglecting Portugal, I barely noticed that I hadn’t paid Spain much attention either. I’ve written up two different wines from Rioja, both red, but Spain has a great deal to offer in red, white, rosé still wine, not to mention fortified and sparkling wine.
Todays wine is not red, nor is it from Rioja. Instead we have Bodegas Eidosela Rías Baixas Arbastrum 2010. Like many, possibly most, Spanish wines, this is a blend of grapes, with Albariño dominating, and with Loureira and Treixadura rounding out the mix. At some point I’ll formalize how I write about wine, so that I don’t miss out on something I’d like to cover, but for today I’ll go with grapes, region, producer, and then finally the wine itself.
So grapes - Albariño is a fairly trendy variety these days. It was the dominant grape in the Vinho Verde of earlier this week under the name Alvarinho, and it’s made something of a beachhead in a few places in the New World, such as the USA and Australia. It’s thick skinned, aromatic, and can produce good levels of acid, alcohol and flavour, and as such can certainly stand alone as a varietal wine. I’m not brilliant at identifying varieties, but when I encounter Albariño I usually pick up orange or mandarin blossom. It’s a bit like Torrontés in that way, but a much more common wine to encounter blind. Loureira (sometimes known as Loureiro) and Treixadura are the lesser grapes in the mix, both aromatic, though rarely bottled as varietals, and without as much international cultivation outside of Spain and Portugal. I’ve not had either as a varietal, so I’m not sure what they contribute to the blend.
Region - Rías Baixas is in northwestern Spain, in the bit that sticks out over northern Portugal. Known best for it’s dry whites, it has a maritime climate that sees more than its share of rain as well as a granite-based soil. Twelve grape varieties are permitted, including six which are red, but like this wine, the area is dominated by Albariño with Loureira and Treixadura being the next two most important grapes.
Producer – I know little about Bodegas Eidosela, but they appear to be a very modern, fair sized winery – 600,000 litres capacity. Founded as a co-operative in 2003 by seven growers, it’s grown to 60 members, with holdings of 45ha. It produces this blend as well as two other wines, each 100% Albariño.
This wine itself is pale – far from water, but such a different white from the Jura of yesterday. It has an intense floral nose, with heady blossom, orange and lime. The palate is fairly intense, with lime and mandarin citrus, but on the finish it’s not pure fruit but rather the oil you get out of orange peel. Sweet and sour, but delicious.