Wine Time

Dennis Sodomka is a guest columnist | Contact Dennis

Wine Time: Abadia de San Campio Albariño 2012, Spain

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COST: $19-21

WHAT: Most everyone these days drinks Pinot Grigio, but it’s good to try something new once in a while. Get out of your comfort zone and try some Spanish Albariño.

The price generally is moderate and the value high. Albariños usually are highly aromatic, with a fresh, pleasant taste.

If you like Pinot Grigio, you will love Albariño. It’s the most distinctive white grape grown in Spain and Portugal, possibly tracing its ancestry back several centuries to the Alsace Rieslings.

The Abadia de San Campio is an outstanding example of Albariño. It is a beautiful lemon color in the glass with huge aromas of Golden Delicious apple, citrus and some banana. The taste is full of ripe fruit like peach and citrus with some minerality, but a good balance between acidity and sugar keep it fresh and crisp. The finish is long and tart.

Once you taste an Albariño you will recognize it every time because it has a distinctive taste.

This wine is 100 percent Albariño, fermented in stainless steel tanks using yeasts native to the vineyard. There is no malolactic fermentation and no oak aging, keeping the tastes fresh and clean.

The grapes are grown in the Galician vineyards of Rias Baixas in Northwest Spain. It is a cloudy, damp region with a coastline full of inlets. The influence of the Atlantic is strong.

About 250,000 bottles were produced. The wine should be served well chilled and drunk young. This is not a wine you want to age. It is perfect for summer sipping.

WINERY: Founded in 1989, Terras Gauda is a leading producer of Albariño wines in northwest Spain, particularly in the Rosal Valley of the Rias Baixas region. The company gets 85 percent of its grapes from its own vineyards and buys the rest under strict quality control agreements with local growers.

The Terras Gauda Group owns three wineries and one vegetable processing plant: Bodegas Terras Gauda, Viñedos y Bodegas Pittacum and Quinta Sardonia, and the A Rosaleira cannery.

The company works with the CSIC, Spain’s national research institute, to conduct scientific research about wine and grapes. In 2009 the company won the research prize from the Royal Galician Academy of Sciences for its work on the Albariño grape.

In 2008, Terras Gauda registered its first patent for yeast strains and a second in 2010 for mannoproteins to reinforce the varietal characteristics of Albariño. A third patent came in 2012 for isolating a microorganism found only in the Caiño Blanco grape.

The company also produces distilled spirits from the Albariño grape under the Porta do Miño label.

The flagship Bodegas Terras Gauda wine is O Rosal ($24), a blend of Albariño (70 percent), Loureiro (18 percent) and Caiño Blanco (12 percent). About 1.2 million bottles were produced. It also is a stunningly good example of Albariño, with notes of peach, minerals and herbs and a crisp finish.

GOES WITH: My wife, Teri, and I had the Abadia de San Campio Albariño with a simple summer meal of steamed shrimp, hash brown potatoes and fresh veggies. It was perfect, a refreshing wine to pair with a light meal.

The area of Galicia is known as a seafood heaven so it makes sense that its wines are made to pair with seafood of all kinds. You can enjoy this wine chilled on a hot summer day, or drink it with shellfish such as oysters, clam and crab. It also would go well with spicy Asian cuisine.

WINE EVENTS

THURSDAY, JULY 25

Wine and tapas tasting, 5-6:30 p.m., La Maison on Telfair, 404 Telfair St.; four wines and three tapas; $19.99; (706) 722-4805

FRIDAY, JULY 26

Wine and beer tasting, 4:30-6:30 p.m., Vineyard Wine Market, 4414 Evans to Locks Road, Evans; (706) 922-9463

Wine tasting, 6-8 p.m., Evans Towne Market, 4460 Washington Road, Evans, includes wines, cheese and crackers and live music; $5; (706) 303-8591

SATURDAY JULY 27

Wine and beer tasting, 2-6 p.m., Vineyard Wine Market, 4414 Evans to Locks Road, Evans; (706) 922-9463

FRIDAY, AUG. 2

Wine tasting, 5-8 p.m., Wine World, 133 Georgia Ave., North Augusta; three whites, three reds and cheeses; $5 rebate with purchase of one bottle of featured wine; (803) 279-9522

MONDAY, AUG. 5

Wine tasting river cruise, 6-8 p.m., featuring 10 wines and appetizers, sponsored by Ninth Street Wine Market, $20 paid in advance; reservations, (706) 724-1442


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