Voice of the Vine
Summer Sensations from Spain
By Abby Cifarelli
The height of summer is upon us, and with luck, you’re spending some days at the beach enjoying the cool ocean breeze and nights with friends, at a safe distance, enjoying a favorite bottle of wine. We are so lucky in our small town of Rye to have views of Long Island Sound and access to small beaches nestled along the coastline.
Our first wine comes from another idyllic beachside location. Just a hop, skip, and jump over the Atlantic Ocean, we arrive in Rias Baixas, Spain. Rias Baixas is home to Albariño, Spain’s most planted white grape varietal. Albariño is almost impossible to dislike. It is delightfully refreshing and it’s hard not to appreciate the peach, stone fruit, and citrus flavors that playfully bounce around as you sip.
The La Val Rias Baixas Albariño 2019 is a young wine that is perfect for a hot summer day. The first thing you notice when you pour yourself a glass is its pale–yellow color with hints of green. Ripe aromas with layers of peach and citrus quickly show themselves with the first swirl. Secondary aromas of white flowers and salt air give a nod to the beachside location where the grapes are grown and harvested. The palate is generous with flavors of melon, minerality, and citrus leaving a lively acidity on the finish. Overall, the La Val Albariño is light and dry with a refreshing acidity that makes you look forward to your next sip. This wine pairs swimmingly with fish tacos or a shellfish dish of choice, and, of course, fresh and tangy cheeses.
But just because the days are warmer, doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy a powerful red wine, too. If the sound of summer includes searing a juicy steak on the grill, the next selection is a perfect pairing. A few hundred miles inland, just north of Madrid, is the Ribera Del Duero winemaking region of Spain. Ribera Del Duero produces sought-after red wines made from Tempranillo, Spain’s most planted red grape varietal which produces wines that vary from dry and fruity to very complex. Duero Tempranillo is known for being strong, dark in color with black fruit and vanilla characteristics.
The Finca Torremilanos Reserva Ribera del Duero 2015 is a beautiful expression of the region and the grape. Pop the cork and pour yourself a glass. A striking dark ruby color coats your glass and as you swirl jammy aromas of plum and blackcurrant will escape. A bouquet of vanilla and smoke, found only when a wine is aged in oak, will also find their way into your senses. The palate is medium-bodied and silky with a medium tannic structure that gives the wine texture and backbone. The aromas of black fruits, vanilla, and leather have a strong presence on the palate. Overall, the Finca Torremilanos Reserva is incredibly balanced; it is dry yet bold with a medium acidity.
Both these summer must–try wines can be found at G. Griffin Wines on Forest Avenue. Wine at Five, Harrison Wine Vault, and Varmax Liquor Pantry offer similarly sensational selections.