2021 Pazo Senorans Albarino
Robert Parker | 92 RP
Robert Parker Wine Advocate | 92 RP
Wine Details for 2021 Pazo Senorans Albarino
|Type of Wine
: 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.
: 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.
: Grapevines have been cultivated on the Iberian Peninsula for thousands of years, making Spain one of the oldest wine producing countries on earth. With nearly 1 million hectares under vine, Spain is in possession of more grapevines that any other nation in the world. Today, vineyard cultivation takes place in virtually every administrative district, making it a leading producer on today’s market. Spain’s vineyards generate an annual wine output of 40.7 million hectoliters, ranking it third in the world behind only France and Italy.
Spain is a land of breathtaking beauty, diverse topography, complex cultures and a time honored tradition of viticulture. The country’s broad geographical values play a major role in defining the many wine styles produced. From the cool climes of Galicia and the snow-capped Pyrenees to arid Andalucía in the south, and every region in between the Atlantic and Mediterranean coasts, Spain boasts one of the most diverse terroirs in the world.
The country’s myriad of soils and complex climate systems creates an expansive planting ground for a multitude of varietals. Tempranillo has long played an instrumental role in Spanish winemaking. It is important to note that of the 236,000 hectares being cultivated world-wide, 202,000 are planted in Spain. It is commonly utilized in the production of still red wines from Rioja, Ribera del Duero and Toro and has taken the world by storm. In the past few decades, wines produced in Rioja have been some of the most popular, and in 2017, wines with a “Rioja” label were the most purchased on the wine market. Bodegas Vega Sicilia, located in Ribera del Duero in northern Spain has been one of the most sought after producers hailing from Spain, and Tinta de Toro (otherwise known as Tempranillo everywhere else) has certainly placed its mark on the region and the world.
Spain is also renowned for its production of sweet, raisened Moscatel, fortified Madeira, sparkling Cava and its rising, but shining star, Albarino, which hails from the Rias Baixas appellation of Galicia. Some of the most recognizable names in the world of wine hail from Spain.
In the past few decades there has been a collision of New and Old World winemaking; one which has greatly contributed to the continued success of the Spanish wine industry. Modernization of vineyards, facilities and viticulture has greatly improved the significance of Spain in the wine market. Syrah and Merlot have taken root in Spanish wine regions and combined with the indigenous Garnacha (Grenache) Garnacha Blanca (Grenache Blanc), Godello and many others, the country has not only adapted to new styles of winemaking but also the ever changing palate of consumers.