About This Wine
Like our amigo Alfredo Maestro in Ribera del Duero, Marc Isart is passionate about this re-emerging variety (whose history in the region may date back as far as the 8th century). Judging by the examples we have tasted, it's a passion well founded. Suffering the same fate of just about every other shy-bearing and characterful indigenous grape variety around the globe, the once prized Albillo has found itself sidelined in favour of more profitable, high yielding varieties. We've tasted enough now to suggest a comeback is long overdue. The wine comes entirely from 85-100 year-old vines growing in the granitic sands of the Cantocuerdas vineyard. There is 24 hours of skin contact and then vinification occurs in 2,500 litre foudre. There's pear, citrus and some blossom notes on the lifted aromatics and the palate offers both glycerol depth along with lots of racy, crunchy freshness as well. There's also a very subtle hint of grip and lots of energy and drive. As fascinating as it is delicious, this is a step up in class on the (very good) Navaherreros (blended cuvée). The review below belongs to the 2015 vintage, though is included here as we feel it offers a good insight to the general style of the wine. Worth noting perhaps that Albillo once played a role, similar to that of Viognier in Côte Rôtie, in Vega Sicilia's Unico blend. This shows what can be achieved when it stands alone.
Wines of Spain
With 2.9 million acres of land planted in wine grapes, Spain is the most widely planted wine producing nation and second largest producer in the world. Many styles of wine are produced in the country most of which are based on native grape varietals.
The two most famous regions are Rioja and Ribera del Duero for their Tempranillo production. Rioja Tempranillo (the classic) will be lighter and fresher with red fruit flavours as compared to those from Ribera del Duero that are often deep purple, higher in alcohol with more tannins and intense black fruit character. Rioja is also known for producing Garnacha (Grenache), as well as rich, nutty whites from the indigenous Viura varietal.
In the Catalonia region, Spain is recognized for making a sparkling wine in the traditional method but using native grape varieties. This is called Cava. Priorat, a subregion within Catalonia specializes in making still red blends of Garnacha, Carignan and often Syrah and Cabernet Sauvignon in a bold and full-bodied style. Together with Rioja, wines from Priorat have achieved DOCa/DOQ status signifying their quality.
Sherry is Spain’s famous fortified wine which can either be completely dry, lusciously sweet or somewhere in between. This is made in the southern region of Jerez.
Other notable Spanish wine styles include: Monastrell (AKA. Mataro/Mourvèdre), produced in the Jumilla region and refreshing white Albariño and Verdejo from north western Galacia.
Robert Parker/Wine Advocate – It wants to show the character of Albillo Real in the village of San Martín de Valdeiglesias, where the old organically farmed vines from three different plots are located. The soils are granite-based. The three different vineyards were fermented separately with different maceration times, one of them with the full clusters. It then aged in used oak barrels for some nine months. One-third of the wine had contact with the skins, but today the nose was more reductive in a flinty, struck match way, with some lees. The palate revealed very good balance, with very fine tannins. Winemaker Marc Isart told me they are finally getting to understand Albillo, which behaves better in warmer years. I like the seriousness of this Albillo very much.
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