Albarino and the region of Rias Biaxas, Spain

Or a post only a wine geek could love.

At last some writing about wine. I have been busy with school, tests, a paper, and presentation due soon, work drama- maybe another post, a partner being laid off - saving that one for later, too, and a cold *sniffle*. You are much better off just reading the blog than actually spending time with my sniffling, sneezing, cranky self these days. Since I've spent so much time putting together a powerpoint presentation about Rias Biaxas and Albarino, I thought I would share it with you.

Albarino is a one of the aromatic whites. Created in a tiny corner of Northwest Spain known as Riax Baixas (pronounced Re-as Bishus) it is known for high acids, delicate aromas and fruit components such as apple, peach and citrus. Similar to a dry riesling but with a touch more minerality, this is a wonderful food paring wine and mighty nice to sip on a warm day.

The Riax Baixas region of Spain is part of the province of Galicia. It was settled by Gaelic ancestors and has its own language- Gallego, a blend of Portuguese and Spanish. It has a long history of wine stretching back to the Roman Empire as early as 2nd century A.D. Historical references mention that the province was part of an extensive trade network of wine exporting to England and Northern Europe between the 15th and 18th centuries when trade restrictions and politics put an end to the exports. These days Albarino is the main grape grown, but tantalizing historical tidbits suggest Riax Biaxas also produced a great deal of light bodied red wines from possibly indigenous grapes before the Phloxera epidemic hit the European vineyards in the mid 19th century. (Have I bored you completely yet?)

The end of the Franco years and Spain's admittance to the EU has brought about a resurgence of the wine industry in Spain in general. In the late 1980's quality standards were implemented and the area went through a massive replanting focusing its vineyards on producing Albarino, a signature wine from the area.

These days, Albarino accounts for 90% of the grapes grown. There are 7500 acres under vine in 5 sub-regions. A charming factiod- those 7500 acres are owned by 6500 growers, which makes the average size for a vineyard 1/2 acre.

The weather isAtlantic coastal, with grey skies and fog at least 1/2 the year. The average temperature ranges from 55-60 degrees.

more to come...