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Woman on the Verge of a Glass of Wine

Friday, March 19, 2010

Just Sit Back and Smell the Rias

I'm a white wine drinker. I admit it.

For some reason, drinking white wine became unfashionable in certain circles. A trend developed whereby people would look down on those of us who ordered a glass of white. Looks ranging from disdain to pity would be cast my way. "Poor thing," the red-only folk would think, "She's ordering white wine. I'll have a glass of Cab."

This whole idea is really insane when one considers that some of the world's greatest, and most expensive wines are actually white. This topic came up yesterday during my weekly wine tasting session with Tara at AOC. We were tasting wines, almost all of which were white, when we came upon one of the most aromatically impressive wines I have ever had. It was the 2007 Finca de Arantei, Rias Baixas.

Rias Baixas is located on the West coast of Spain and is most well-known for its white wines made from Albariño. Most of these wines are made by large cooperatives and are blended from various vineyard sights around the area, resulting in wines that are not all that exciting. Finca de Arantei is quite different in this respect as it is a single-vineyard, estate grown and bottled Albariño, grown in the sub-region of Condado de Tea, an area that basks is the Spanish sunshine.

The intoxicating aromatics in this wine virtually leapt out of the glass, so much so that I just couldn't tear my nose away from it. It was one of those wines that I didn't rush to actually taste because I was happy just to sit and smell it. On the nose, layers of exotic spice scents of cardamom and ginger mingled with bright apple tones and hints of tropical fruit. With each return to the glass, new aromas came into play. I smelled fully bloomed roses and honey, lemon verbena and slate-like minerals. On the palate, the complexity continued with notes of yellow peach and nectarine, creamy notes akin to white Rhone varieties and a lively acidity that kept the wine in balance.

This is probably the most exciting and exuberant Albariño I've tasted. I really wanted to keep the rest of the sample bottle that the vendor brought, but I was too shy to ask. I feel bad keeping a bottle of wine that the salesperson can show to another buyer. I'd hate to keep her from selling it to another account, even if I did want to buy it all for myself.

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