ALBARINO RIAS BAIXAS
LEIRANA ALBARIÑO 2020 BY BODEGAS FORJAS DEL SALNÉS
Leirana Albariño 2020 by Bodegas Forjas Del Salnés is hands down the greatest crisp mineral driven white wine we have tasted in years. Love Sancerre? Chablis? This wine would cost $100 from either. It combines THE best winemaker, with THE best terroir and is not only an 11/10 now, but will improve for years to come. This is my pick for the best summer white of 2022.
Words cannot do justice to what Rodrigo Mendez and Raul Perez have done for Galician wine. Long before it was fashionable, they sought out and tended to ancient bush vines planted in regions no-one thought growing quality grapes was possible and made it their mission to save them from extinction. Two decades later, and almost a decade after I first met them, they have risen to their rightful place and iconic winemaking superstars.
Reaching right to the edge of the Atlantic Ocean and considered the birthplace of the Albariño grape, the Val do Salnés is where you zoom in to find the very best. This wine comes from 70 year old vines, planted by his grand parents in granitic sands within eyeshot of the Atlantic Ocean This isn’t just any old place, or grape—it’s the perfect marriage of both, much like it is for Chardonnay in the Côte de Beaune or Riesling in the Mosel River Valley.
There is a pronounced salinity to this wine that serves to accentuate the flinty mineral tones and complement the juicy stone fruit. The nose evoke smell like the ocean – my mouth started watering for oysters as soon as I tasted it. As is winemaker Rodrigo’s hallmark, this is impeccably balanced and beautifully concentrated. For me, the top Albariños already rank among the world’s white-wine greats, and to get THE best producer at less than $35 is a steal.
WHAT THE CRITICS SAY
Luis Gutierrez, Wine Advocate Feb 2022
93 Points / Best Buy
Peñín Guide 2022
“Winemaker of the Year”
German publication “Der Feinschmecker”, 2014
(Consulting winemaker, Raul Perez)
“Best Winemaker in the World”
French publication “Bettane+Desseauve”, 2015
(Consulting winemaker, Raul Perez)
LEIRANA ALBARIÑO 2020 BY BODEGAS FORJAS DEL SALNÉS: CHARACTERISTICS
BODY / STYLE / OAK / Medium-bodied / fresh, crisp, floral, fruity and mineral / unoaked
SWEETNESS / Extra Dry
CELLARING / Drink now or cellar
BEST PAIRINGS / Rich Fish, Risotto, Salad, Vegetables, White Meat
TASTING NOTE / “Pale gold. Fresh melon, white peach and tangerine scents show fine clarity and pick up a smoky mineral quality with aeration. Vibrant, spice- and mineral-tinged citrus fruit, nectarine and honeydew flavours deepen steadily on the back half. Closes very long and silky, with resonating peach and mineral qualities and a suave floral nuance.”
A LITTLE HISTORY
5th generation winemaker Rodrigo Mendez descended from the founding head of the DO of Rias Baixas, he is an astute historian of the history and heritage of this place, and makes wines to express and preserve this history and unique maritime terroir. Using almost forgotten minimal-intervention techniques learned through generational viticultural knowledge, Rodrigo recreates the Albariño of yesteryear.
From shrimp to Seabass, Brie to Chèvre to mushroom dishes and Thai food, this Albariño will pair beautifully.
Life’s too short to drink bad wine so please, don’t settle for whatever white’s in the “end-cap” display at the supermarket. Distinctive wines like this one are around the corner, waiting to be discovered.
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