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01.25.2005

2003 Adegas Galegas "Dionisos" Albariño, Rias Baixas, Spain

It's always great for me to be able to bring you wines that are relatively cheap and totally delicious. It's even a bigger bonus if they are made by small artisan producers, which this producer sort of qualifies for (See more below).

It is with glee that I present what is one of the best, if not THE BEST tasting Albariño I've ever had. Albariño is appreciated by many for the steely, highly mineral, crisp white wines made from it, mostly in the Rias Baixas area of Spain. Albariños typically have lots of calcium, lime, and slate flavors accompanied by often unusually high levels of acidity -- some of which I find just a bit too sharp. This wine, however, has a perfect balance to it and an incredibly accessible flavor profile that will make it an instant favorite of anyone who appreciates a nice Sauvignon Blanc or Sancerre (though die hard Albariño fans may find it lacking a certain austere character).

This godly nectar, appropriately named after Dionysus, the Greek god of wine, is produced by Adegas Galegas, a winery founded in 1995 and located in the southernmost portion of the Rias Baixas appellation, just a hop,skip and a jump over the border from Portugal. Galegas owns about 100 acres of vines which are planted with traditional varietals including Albariño, Treixadura, Loureiro, Brancellao, Espadeiro, Cai­ño Tinto, and Mencia, most of whose vines are between 10 and 15 years old. The winery is located in the Condado region of Rias Baixas, which is the most 'mountainous' area of the appellation.

Adegas Galegas, run by a man named Jose Rodriguez, is part of Grupo Galiciano, a large (for Spain) conglomerate which owns and operates several small and a couple tiny wineries in the area. Galegas is their second largest operation, producing about 3000 cases annually.

The grapes for this wine are destemmed and then crushed and immediately placed in a cold-soak tank where the skins can remain in contact with the juice without the fermentation process beginning for a couple of days. The fermentation is done in steel tanks at relatively low temperatures, and the wine is (unfortunately) fined and filtered before bottling.

Tasting Notes:
This wine is a near colorless green gold in the glass and it fills the nose with a perfumed of green apples, unripe pears, wet chalkboards and fresh Oregano. In the mouth it is bright, satiny and refreshing with primary flavors of green apples, rainwater, and light clover honey with a hint of lime. It is gorgeously refreshing with an moderate finish, and overall just wants to be sipped and sipped and sipped. I would have no problem going through an entire bottle on a hot day.

Food Pairing:
This is the perfect wine for ceviche of all kinds.

Overall Score: 9.5

How Much?: $15

This wine was available online when I first wrote this review 6 hours ago, but it has since disappeared !! Someone must have snapped it all up. I'll do a little hunting around to see if I can find it somewhere.

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