On Tuesday, we were invited to an Albariño wine tasting at Succotash, a restaurant at National Harbor in Maryland. The Albariño wines were from the Rías Baixas region of Galicia, Spain. The restaurant was an interesting choice. Rather than Spanish tapas, Succotash specializes in a Southern menu. This did not seem to phase the Albariño. Although in Spain, the Albariño grape cries out for all different types of seafood, I enjoyed the Albariño with the small plates of food prepared by the chefs at Succotash. My favorite was fried chicken on a biscuit with okra garnishing the top. The Albariño and the food matched well.
The wine tasting was a sit-down teach and taste led by wine author Mark Oldman. Mark’s newest title is How to Drink Like a Billionaire: Mastering Wine with Joie de Vivre published autumn 2016. Mark knew his audience of wine writers, restaurant staff and wine retailers. He used humor and the knowledge he had of the Rías Baixas area and Albariño to entertain the group while tasting the first six wines. Also attending were Javier Izurieta Romero from the producer Pazo de Señorans and Mariola Varona Bayolo from the producer Martín Códax.
We learned, through tasting, that not all Albariño wines are the same. Their tasting profiles were varied. We tasted six Albariño wines during the sit down presentation. The first Albariño was a 2015 from Pazo de Señorans. The yellow colored wine offered yellow stone fruit and citrus on the aroma and taste. Also on the taste there was a hint of mineral with a very slight trace of salt. The medium-bodied wine also had an oily mouthfeel. The mineral finish was fruity. The suggested retail price is $21.
The second wine was a 2015 Ramón Bilbao Albariño by producer Mar de Frades. This wine had a bright yellow color and offered lemongrass and citrus aromas. The taste also had lemon, lemongrass and mineral. The wine was very crisp. The suggested retail price is $14. The third wine was a Martín Códax 2015 Albariño. It had a bright yellow color with a gold hue. The aroma and taste exhibited melon, citrus, mineral and a slight hint of sea salt. The wine had a medium-full body with a mineral and fruity finish. Mariola Varona Bayolo mentioned that this wine was begging for sea food. The suggested retail price is $15.
The fourth wine in the flight was a 2015 Valmiñor Albariño. The yellow colored wine had notes of citrus, melon and mineral. It had a full-body and the finish yielded from fruity to mineral. The suggested retail price is $14. The producer Bodegas as Laxas produced the fifth wine tasted, a Laxas 2016. The yellow colored wine had a tropical fruit aroma. The wine tickled the tongue. The taste had tropical fruits in the foreground with a mineral background. The wine had a medium-full body and was very crisp. The suggested retail price is $20. Our last Albariño in the flight was a 2015 Santiago Ruiz. This Albariño was a blend of 69% Albariño, 13% Loureiro, 9% Treixandura, 5% Godello and 4% Ciaño Blanco. The wine had an aroma of tropical fruits and fruit tree blossoms. The taste reminded me of peaches, fruit tree blossoms and a hint of pineapple. It was medium-bodied with a very crisp and citrus finish. The suggested retail price is $20.
Of the six wines, my favorite was the first one by Pazo de Señorans. As I looked around the room, several people had wine left in all their glasses except the first glass. Perhaps we were just thirsty or several people liked this Albariño.
After the presentation, a small plate of food was delivered. The small tastes included fried green tomatoes, a short rib croquette and shrimp. All items paired well with the Albariño. The acidity of the wine helped cleanse the palate. The second part of our Albariño event had an additional six Albariño wines and small plates of food from the restaurant. This was a time for socializing and sampling how well the food paired with Albariño. Southern cooking does match very well with Albariño wines.