Saturday, July 5, 2014

O Rosal

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2012 Terras Gauda O Rosal | DO Rías Baixas

We went out last night for drinks. Many drinks. And towards the end, after all the cava, I wanted something different. Something French. And we found it, a stunning bottle of Arbois-Pupillin, although that's not what I'm going to write about. Rather, I want to moan a little (maybe a lot) about the ubiquity of that cheap style of wine here in Spain, that homogenous style of big, jammy wines that tastes the same, no matter where the grapes come from.

After nearly 11 months here, I have to admit, my opinion of the LCBO has changed quite a bit. Sure I still think they should still tear the whole system down, but they do offer the customer one thing that we don't quite appreciate ... variety. Here in Europe, forget about it, maybe outside of the most urban cities - London, Berlin, etc. Want to buy a French wine in Barcelona, from an AOC that's no more than an hour away? Forget it. You can't even get the industrialized crap here. Only overpriced Bordeaux, and maybe the odd Burgundy, village-level only.

So we're stuck with Spanish wine. And while I love, love, love Spanish wine (my early education in wine), there's also a lot of mediocrity. The ones that really sing, that really stand for something - well, you'll have to pay for the privilege. For everyday wines, let's say 6-10€, there's very little in way of typicity and character. It's all that big, super ripe, fruit-forward wines that are alcoholic and a little sweet, and give the middle finger to what grape varietal they're made out of, much less a sense of place. And that's a shame. Because this bottle taught me that when it's on, Spanish wine remains one of the most interesting, unique expressions of their terroir in the world.

I love albariño, my first experience with Spanish whites. The Terras Gauda, from Galicia, is a blend of 70% albariño, 18% loureiro, and 12% caiño blanco. As described by the bodega, 

... we selected the albariño grapes from the “As Eiras” plots. Due to the excellent ripening during summer, the harvest started 12 days before than usual, beginning of September, with the right autumn sun light and temperatures to produce top-quality must. These conditions remained constant and beneficial to the other varieties such as Caíño Blanco, which were harvested at the beginning of October and Loureiro, end of September. The grapes arrived at the winery with high sugar content in perfect harmony with the acids.

After a separate cold maceration of each variety, traditional fermentation took place at controlled temperatures in stainless-steel tanks. After adding natural yeasts from the vineyards, the wine was cold stabilized, filtered and finally bottled.

A beautiful wine, pouring deep golden, with an almost a slight oxidized look. Mineral, saline, tense ... all those adjectives to describe albariño at its finest, when it just sings of the Atlantic Ocean. Over seafood from La Boqueria, sublime. And here's the really great thing ... the wine was 12.60€. Ok, so still over 10, but a lot of value for that price. Someone tell me why it's sometimes such a struggle to get the same experience without having to play the select one to put in the shopping cart: wine or chicken leg game. 

DF

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