Posted by: tomciocco | June 22, 2012

THE EXOTIC TRIO FROM IBERIA’S CORNER

I’ve often wondered how the region of Galicia and its sovereign cousin to the South, Portugal, have wound up with so many native grape varieties, but there it is. My best guess is because both the Portuguese and the Galicians are great sailors and fishermen, and good ports dot the coastline of both places, I figure that the commerce both in and out has provided lots of vinous DNA over the milennia. Portugal is said to have over 300 varieties that are more or less peculiar to its borders, and even the relatively small bumpy green swath of earth that is Galicia has Albarino, Mencia, Torrontes, Caino, Lado, and none of these are even in tonight’s wine…

This white from the tortuously twisty Sil River valley is made up of just about equal parts of a signature Galician white, Godello, noted for its great affinity for shellfish, another very obscure local variety, Dona Blanca (pardon the lack of the tilda – no can do here) and somewhat shockingly, Palomino, which is the same Palomino that makes up the lion’s share of the juice that rounds out SHERRY! Palomino is indeed native to southern Spain, but was planted in Galicia early in the 20th  century, though its acrage continue to shrink…

I have to say that this is one very intriguing and even exotic white wine. Its odd “shape” in the mouth and its somewhat peculiar vegetal and spice character won’t work for every palate or even every fish dish, but with the garlic and lemon shrimp with judias blancas (Butter beans) and Rodaballo al la gallego (Turbot steamed over potatoes, onions, and bay leaves, with a sauce made from the broth, oil, garlic and pimenton) its funky boldness was more than enough to stand up to these bold and earthy/briney flavors.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bod. Coop. Virgen de las Vinas “Rua” Valdeorras 2010

Slightly coppery medium gold color. Pungent and exotic nose of hay, fennel bulb, celery, pollen, sawn wood, iodine, ripe yellow cherries, and lychee nuts. In the mouth the wine is taut “flat” and broad, charged by a zippy acidity, and underhung with a fairly dense and concentrated mouthfeel that is rich with flavors of chalk, quince jam, almond milk, dill, pickling spices, tarragon, and basil. Big bitter/sweet dried lime finish. 

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