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Albarino wine is considered to be the Spanish "gold" of white wines for its colour and quality. But there's also anot...Read more...
Food Pairings for Terras Gauda Albariño Rías Baixas O Rosal
Albarino wine is considered to be the Spanish "gold" of white wines for its colour and quality. But there's also another theory that connects the wine to the metal-sounds daft but we'll give it a whirl. The Romans originally colonized Galicia for its great mineral wealth, gold in particular; the system that they used for extracting the minerals was the "Terra Montium", which consisted of excavating tunnels, then lighting a fire in them so that they would collapse, and with this system they literally managed to destroy mountains. But to excavate these tunnels they needed to soften the rock and to do so they used none other than vinegar! The origins and applications of Albarino were industrial then; centuries later the vine resurfaces and delicious wines are made As they say locally: "Although they took all the gold at least they left behind Albarino wine." Galicia is the land of percebes (barnacles) and wild horses; here they celebrate the famous "curros" (horse corrals). They round up all the wild horses to brand them and cut their manes; in Galician it is called "a rapa das bestas". There is also a strong Celtic tradition of folk song and bagpipes. The Galician vineyards of Rias Baixas are dominated by the influence of the Atlantic. This is a green, cloudy, damp region of pine, chestnut and oak clad hills with a coastline punctuated by rias (coastal inlets). The region has actually produced wines for many centuries, and by the middle of the 19th century, Galicia boasted 55,000 hectares of vines, although phylloxera and other diseases greatly reduced this amount. The wine scene remained moribund until the 1980s when Albarino, the region's great white grape was "rediscovered" and found to yield excellent quality wines. Allied to this was investment in the technology of cold fermentation and stainless steel that exalted the flavours and aromas of the grape. Rias Baixas - low rivers - is named after the abovementioned fjord-like inlets. It has a markedly Atlantic climate with mild winters, coolish summers, high humidity and elevated rainfall. The wines of Terras Gauda are located in the subzone of O Rosal on the terraces that rise steeply above the river Mino which divides Spain from Portugal. The Terras Gauda, a selective blend of the best Albarino grapes in the O Rosal subzone is mixed with the indigenous Loureira and Caiño Blanco (harvested in October), is greenish-yellow, evoking white flowers and green plums on the nose and filling out on the palate with fresh grape and apple compote flavours as well as peach kernel. Edged with superb acidity and a bristling minerality this reminds one of a really good Riesling. Both the wines have delicacy and persistence in equal measure. When in this corner of Spain drink with the harvest of the Atlantic and indulge in a Galician mariscada (seafood feast). Starting with pulpo a feira (Octopus fair-style), second course mussels, chocos (cuttlefish), clams, prawns, scallops, crabs and, of course, lobsters. Terras Gauda is notable for owning around 85% of its own vineyards; the remainder of the grapes are provided under strict quality control agreements with local growers. Having this control allows the estate to pick later and more selectively (and over a greater period of time) than most others ensuring greater maturity and higher sugar levels in the grapes. The sheltered aspect of the vineyards surrounded by forest, the proximity to the Mino and to the sea, also promotes ripening. The result is that Terras Gauda is one of the few wineries that does not need to do a malolactic on any of their wines, which is why they taste so exceptionally fresh and bright. What also distinguishes the Terras Gauda - as the estate wine is known - is the presence of the indigenous Caiño variety. Although approximately only 15% of the blend, this grape, which is virtually exclusive to Terras Gauda, gives a rich quality to the overall wine. The Caiño vineyards tend to be planted on steep slopes with lots of broken slates; the grape ripens late, but still has acidity and a strong mineral component. The effect is to lift the aromatic citrus nature of the Albarino, giving the wine an irresistible zesty length.
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