Thursday, September 6, 2012

Washington Albarino v Rias Baixas

The Vuelta a Espana doesn't get as much attention as the Giro d'Italia or Tour de France, but it packs a lot of action into three weeks of racing.  And, to keep things interesting the racers had to transfer from Barcelona to the North Western regions of Spain starting the second week of racing in the Rias Baixas region.

The racers have been testing their legs, and lungs, in the high mountains of NW Spain in the past week.  Joaquim Rodriguez has held onto the leader's Red Jersey responding to every move made by Alberto Contador so far.

I break out the Albarino this week as I enjoy the continued warm weather in the Pacific North West and the racing in the North West of Spain.

2011 Castillo de Feleciana Albarino v. 2011 Carballal Sete Cepas

Tale of the Tape

2011 Castillo de Feleciana Albarino

Albarino from the Columbia Valley.  This is one of the few Albarinos from Washington state.  I was lucky enough to be able to purchase a bottle at Corky Cellars for $19.45 as this is normally only available at the winery's tasting room in Walla Walla.

2011 Carballal Seta Cepas Albarino

Albarino from the Rias Baixas DO

Purchased at Bin 41 for $18.99 on T's recommendation.

Round 1. First Opening

These Luchadors came straight out of the fridge so they may have been a bit on the cool side for the first round of this bout.

The Castillo de Feliciana may be chillin, but it is still showing some interesting complexity.  The nose has notes of peaches and melon with some creaminess, candle wax and hints of mineral.  The palate is showing peach and melon with a nice acidic finish that includes a hint of white pepper.

The Sete is literally bubbling with confidence.  There is a slight effervescence to the Rias Baixas bad boy.  The nose is showing melon, citrus and grapefruit with a light smokiness.  The palate has character of melon with a sweet lightly acidic finish that is lightly effervescent.

This round is a close start to the match and has to go to the judges for a ruling.  Sete takes round 1 due to the unique bubbly character.

Round 2.  One hour after opening

Feliciana is getting feisty with a nose of melon, peach and citrus with light mineral notes.  The palate is also featuring melon and peaches along with subtle grapefruit leading to a nice tart acidic finish with notes of light white pepper.

Sete strikes back with a nose of melon and citrus grapefruit with some light smokiness.  The palate is mainly melon with a sweet lightly acidic finish that is still a bit bubbly as it races over your tongue.

The Feliciana built more character into the second round and slightly edges the Sete to take round 2 and even up the match.

Round 3. One day after opening

These Albarinos have some staying power.

The Feliciana is showing a nose of pears, melon and hints of mineral and light pepper.  The palate also shows melon and pear with some nice tart white pepper and lightly acidic finish.

Sete is also holding up well entering into the ring for the third and final round.  The nose is primarily melon with white flower petal notes and light white pepper lingering in the background.  The palate is similar with a nice lightly tart acidic mineral finish that is still showing some bubbles. 

With the bubbles continue to hold strong, Sete takes the final round and wins the match 2 - 1.

Wrap up and overall observations 

This was a close match featuring two Luchadors that were amazingly similar.  Both of these wines make a great sunny afternoon beverage and paired well with hard cheeses and salmon.

The similarity of these two wines was interesting.  The Albarino grape is flashing matching style regardless of which North West it hails from - the Pacific North West or the North West of Spain!

I give each of these wines a solid 88.

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