Every week I look for something new and different to review for you guys. Back in Germany, I didn’t have quite the selection that I do now that I’ve landed in the US. Right before I departed, my local wine store started carrying a wine I’d been itching to try based on the great reviews from the heavy hitters of the wine world. That wine was the Martin Codax 2011 Albarino.
Albarino is a white grape grown in northwestern Spain and northwest Portugal. From labels based in Portugal you will see it sold as Alvarinho. A small amount is grown in the US and I won’t even begin to talk about the controversy surrounding this grape in Australia. I’ll let you look that up for yourself and come to your own conclusion. No one is 100% sure where it came from originally. It was thought to be related to Riesling but that proved to be false. From what science can tell us it’s closely related to a French grape known as Petit Manseng which is from southwestern France. It’s mostly used for making a late harvest dessert wine. Now that we have a little knowledge and background on the wine, lets get into the review!
The Martin Codax 2011 Albarino comes in at 12.8% alcohol. The wine is steel tank fermented and did have some malolactic fermentation. I chilled the wine to about 45 degrees and used a stemless white wine glass for tasting. I had no bottle or screw cap damage. When opening the bottle I got a nice mellow floral bouquet that slowly wafted around the dining room. The wine is a beautiful light yellow with a yellow green sheen.
The Martin Codax 2011 Albarino has a very interesting nose. You get a bit of white floral character, stone fruits, and citrus. It’s also got a slate and salt aroma as well. The taste is quite similar to the nose with the addition of Granny Smith apples and Asian pears. I also detected the scantest flavors of quince and white currant. The acidity is quite lively; mouthwatering but not so acidic that you can’t drink it alone. The finish carries on for decent amount of time with minerals at the forefront and very slight spiciness in the background. When paired with creamy or fatty foods the spiciness becomes more prevalent from the mid palette on. This wine is also exceptionally dry but the juicy acidity and breadth of fruit character keep it very drinkable. To give you a better idea of what this wine is like: take a great dry Riesling, a Pinot Grigio, Chenin Blanc and a Vionger and put the best characteristics of all of them together and you’d have a pretty close approximation.
If you are a white wine drinker and you are looking for something a bit different that lives up to the hype then this a wine you need to try. My husband and I both loved this wine and have yet to find a white of the same caliber for under $20 since drinking it. This has gotten great ratings, most hovering between 90 and a 92. I’d completely agree with these ratings. It’s a wine we will certainly buy again for our own pleasure as well as to treat guests. As for food parings, many seafood dishes and cheeses will work wonderfully. I’d also pair it with lighter tapas. I think it’s best match would be sushi, specifically Toro and creamy scallop nigiri!