Leo Tolstoy coined, “true life is lived when tiny changes occur.” Those changes can be as subtle as changing up the everyday wine habit. Most people are quick to reach for that glass of go-to Chardonnay as the day turns into dusk, but how about trying something a little different in 2017? Get away from the wine-rut and venture out into the world of Spanish white wines and kick a little ole into the hum drum daily wine habit. You may be pleasantly surprised.
Recently, we had the opportunity to try some very interesting wines from the Santiago Ruiz winery located in the Rias Baixas wine region. The mineral rich soils prepare indigenous grapes such as Albarino, Cano Blanco, Loureira and Treixadura to be melded together by regional wine makers in producing white wines that truly exude the terroir of this mountainous region.
Winemaker Luisa Freire selected grapes from the estate vineyards in San Miguel de Tabagon and Tomiño, located in O Rosal area. This wine is perfectly blended with of course Albariño (69%) then Loureiro (13%), Godello (5%), Treixadura (9%) and Caiño Blanco (4%) to finish it off.
Santiago Ruiz O Rosal bottle presentation comes with a charming label of a hand drawn map of the winery and the surrounding region that was created by Ruiz’s daughter Isabel on the day of her wedding. What’s inside the bottle is indicative of the land and the people that work so diligently in crafting this golden liquid. Hints of citrus, melon and apricot on the front palate along with minerally underpinnings accent the wine’s bright acidity making this light to medium bodied wine a pleasant daily drinking companion. The companion bottle, Nai E. Senora, reflects feminine characteristics along with the charming senora décor on the bottle and the classic golden day bright color. On the nose, Nai E. Senora exudes fragrant apricot notes intermingled with white flowers and on the palate, lime citrus notes burst forth making this creamy wine a complementary pairing alongside lovely octopus or shrimp cerviche.
Albarino is typically not meant to be stored for any length, so imbibe frequently and enjoy this refreshing break from the afternoon Chardonnay chill down. Make 2017 a year international adventure, one bottle at a time beginning with Spain and see where you end up.
Cuisineist Tasting Panel: December 2016: 93 points