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Veigas de Padriñán’s simple label draws little attention to the special elixir that sleeps within, adding further testimony to the old adage: “The simpler the label, the better the wine.” In the case of Veigas de Padriñán, this time-honored maxim certainly holds true. The 2008 Veigas de Padriñán is classic old vine Albariño. Its robe shines brightly with a glint of golden sunshine, while its bouquet offers equal enticement in the guise of pear and mango scents, mingled with dried honey, cut grass, and subtle floral tones. From its exotic nose one might expect a fruity concoction to follow, but Veigas de Padriñán’s 2008 Albariño remains classic dry white wine. In the mouth, it quenches like an ocean breeze. Full, but not soft, the 2008 Veigas de Padriñán enlivens the palate with a terroir driven concoction of ripe summer fruits, lemon zest, liquid stones, and pinpoint minerality, all of which embrace a lively acidity that adds both depth and structure to an already brilliant Albariño. Although enjoyable when well chilled, the 2008 Veigas, like most Albariños from old vines, will reveal more of its character and complexity when served between 50º-55º F. Consequently, we suggest giving this concentrated, impeccably balanced Albariño a moderate chill, before allowing it to unfold gently in the glass to induce the patient among us to truly savor the glory of Spain. Enjoy!
In its native Galicia, tapas and the fruits of the sea constitute the accompaniments of choice with Albariño. And the 2008 Veigas de Padriñán positively beams in the presence of such traditional fare. It pairs beautifully with clams, mussels, and oysters, especially when they are served in a heady broth. Cod, scrod, or almost any flaky white fish steamed in parchment (or foil) with chopped onion, garlic, tomatoes, olive oil, and herbs, provides exemplary companionship to the 2008 Veigas de Padriñán Albariño. Marinated olives, stuffed mushroom caps, full-flavored Spanish cheeses, and cured meats like prosciutto are perennial favorites, too. However, one need not travel to Rias Baixas to appreciate this wine. Asian stir fries, sushi, sashimi, and grilled tuna steaks offer equally pleasing accompaniments and are easy to prepare or take out. One simple favorite is Ahi tuna that is grilled medium rare, drizzled with a tangy ginger or teriyaki sauce, and then served over a bed of organic greens, shredded carrots, edamame, and broccoli. This simple offering accentuates the taste of Albariño and exemplifies the art of fusing Asian-accented recipes with traditional European wines such as the 2008 Veigas de Padriñán. Salud!
Bodega Padriñán is one of the bright new stars in Spain’s Rias Baixas appellation of Galicia, Spain’s cool, green region that rises from the pounding surf of the North Atlantic to the towering Pyrenees Mountains. It was founded in 2000 by Manuel Villalustre, a well respected local viticulturist with 20 acres of old vines of Albariño. In just a few short years Bodega Padriñán has established itself as one of most compelling producers of white wines in Spain. Since the completion of his modern winery in 2003 Manuel Villalustre has fashioned two persuasive Albariño wines: Eidos and Veigas. Veigas is the winery’s limited production, special reserve offering fashioned from vines in excess of 80 years of age. It is also one of Spain’s most compelling white wines.
Manuel Villalustre’s 100 separate parcels of vines are located at the most northern end of the Salnés Valley, among the steep hills of Padriñán from which the winery draws its name. These hand harvested vineyards are set among the gardens of the village of Sanxenxo, where they enjoy a commanding view of the sea. However, each of these parcels occupies a south facing slope that protects it from the north wind and the stiff ocean breezes that buffet this coast. Superb fruit results from this region's favorable terroir and microclimate, resulting in the most concentrated and intense wines of Rias Baixas. Little wonder then that vines have grown here since time immemorial.
Albariño is an indigenous Spanish grape variety whose home is Rias Baixas and the Galician hills and hinterlands of northwest Spain and neighboring Portugal. Albariño was once thought to be distantly related to Riesling, but some enologists now believe that Albariño may be more closely connected to the Petit Manseng variety of southwest France, which lies just to the north of Galicia and the towering Pyrenees Mountains. However, no dry white Petit Manseng can match the body and finesse of Spain’s finest Albariño wines.
In Portugal, Albariño goes by the name Alvarinho where it typically ends up as a light summertime quaff in the guise of Vinho Verde. Surely, nowhere could a single grape variety be more different than Albariño is in Spain and Portugal. While Portugal picks this varietal early and makes a low alcohol wine (8.5%-9% on average), Spain, under the tutelage of Manuel Villalustre and similar minded individuals in Rias Baixas, turns out a full-bodied, intense Albariño with aromatic and flavor profiles more akin to Viognier – the greatest white variety of France’s Rhône Valley.
On account of its intense flavors and adaptability to difficult climates, Albariño is now extensively planted and studied in other locales around the world, including Australia, California, and South Africa. Early reports from winemakers and consumers elsewhere appear promising for this late maturing grape, but nowhere more than in Australia where extended growing seasons are common and the grape’s firm, bright acidity is much appreciated. A debt of thanks belong to Manuel Villalustre and his Galician counterparts for helping resurrect over the past two decades the great Albariño varietal in Spain and sharing it with the world.
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