2020 Benito Santos Igrexario de Saiar Albarino

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Wine Critic Reviews for 2020 Benito Santos Igrexario de Saiar Albarino

Limpid gold. Vibrant, mineral-accented orchard and citrus fruit and floral qualities on the incisive, mineral-accented nose. Taut and sharply focused, offering zesty lemon pith, pear skin and bitter quinine flavors that deepen through the midpalate. Shows impressive definition and solid mineral thrust on the long, nervy finish, which leaves a spicy ginger note behind.

Vinous Media | 91 VM

Wine Details on 2020 Benito Santos Igrexario de Saiar Albarino

More Information
Producer Benito Santos
Region Rias Baixa
Country Spain: Great wines tell a story of not just the soil they come from, but the people whose hands did all the work. Spain is an incredibly rich and important country when it comes to wine, with plenty of stories to tell. Whether you're a fan of the wonderful Tempranillo varietal or you prefer a touch of classy white Albarino, Spain offers something for everyone. It's a joy to immerse yourself in the culture and explore all the diverse styles and blends. If this sounds appealing to you, then you should treat yourself to at least one of Spain's finest wines, and lose yourself in its complexities. You will almost certainly walk away from that experience with your passion for wine set ablaze like never before.
Type of Wine Spain White: Spanish white wines are as outstanding as the red ones. Plenty of grape varieties planted in Spain have Spanish origin, such as Verdejo or Godello, as well as the crispy Albarino with its powerful aromas. Palomino, Airen, and Albillo are also commonly used in different blends, with Albillo being prevalent in Madrid.
Varietal Albarino: Along the rugged and storm battered coastlines of the Iberian Peninsula, hails a wine grape that has literally weathered the storm to become an icon of the region.  The Albarino grape variety is native to the area in the northwestern corner of the peninsula but it is not clear which side of the border.  As with most ancient grape varietals, there are many speculations as to its true time and place of origin; however it most likely originated in the area straddling the border between modern day Spain and Portugal during the time of the ancient Romans.

Albarino is the shining star in Galicia, which spans the length of Spain’s southern coastline, bordering Portugal.  It has greatly contributed to the region’s economical and agricultural growth and success.  Among the many sub-regions, Rias Baixas has become one of Spain’s greatest success stories; the reputation of Rias Baixas as being the country’s top white wine region is intrinsically connected to its signature grape variety: Albarino.

Over the past 40 years, Rias Baixas has become synonymous with Albarino, which accounts for over 90% of all plantings and covering 13,150 hectares (32,500 acres) of the region.  With its expressive, site-specific and refreshing wines, Rias Baixas Albarino represents the pinnacle of what this increasingly popular grape can achieve.

The terroir of Rias Baixas is perfectly attuned to the Albarino grape varietal: Atlantic influences combine with granite and schist soils to create the wine’s high natural acidity, citrus flavors and sea spray minerality (salinity).  Coastal storms are not uncommon, bringing heavy amounts of rain, but also allowing for a steady and constant growing season.  Vines are trellised high above head on Pergolas to help keep grapes dry and rot-free.  This task is imperative as the small, thick-skinned grapes grow in tight clusters which demands maintaining and plenty of air circulation.

Typical wine styles of the sub-regions can vary, though all tend to be bone-dry with a pale golden color, crisp acidity, with aromatic profiles of white peach, apricot, melon, pineapple, mango and honeysuckle.  Inland vineyards produce fruitier wines, while coastal vineyards produce wines with more salinity. 

Traveling south into northern Portugal, Albarino is referred to as Alvarinho.  Despite the naming confusion between the two countries, genetic fingerprinting is identical.  Both names are officially recognized by the European Union, France and the United States regarding plant propagation material and labeling.

Albarino (Alvarinho) is one of a number of white grapes permitted in the Vinho Verde DOC (Portugal’s appellation system for agricultural products).  The varietal spans 5,782 hectares (14,300 acres) of the region where it is mainly used as a blending agent.  However, the smaller sub-regions of Moncao and Melgaco embrace the grape’s naturally high acidity and craft single-variety wines.  A very unique process is implemented in which carbon dioxide is imbued, giving this style of wine an incredibly light, sparkling and refreshing mouth feel and sensation.  The grapes used in this process are carefully nurtured to achieve optimum ripeness necessary for this style of wine.

Rias Baixas and Vinho Verde have brought worldwide recognition to the Albarino grape variety, which is now gaining popularity in new world winegrowing regions, most notably, the Central Coast of California and Australia.  Though it is thought to be one of the oldest varietals, having vines over 300 years old in some regions, Albarino is relatively new to the world of wine. 

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