Alvaredos-Hobbs Ribeira Sacra Godello 2018
A collaboration between Paul Hobbs and Galician viticultor Antonio López Fernández. Slate soils with some clay, volcanic, and quartz, and steep, south-facing slopes (up to 55-degree incline). Fermented with indigenous yeast in foudre where it ages for 10 months. Bottled unfined and unfiltered.
Critical AcclaimAll Vintages
A white with dried-pear and nougat aromas and flavors and just a hint of coconut. It’s medium-bodied with a fresh, steely finish. Refined and tight. New wine from California’s Paul Hobbs in Riberia Sacra. Drink now.
When acclaimed vintner Paul Hobbs arrived in Spain in 2015, he traveled to a remote village in the northwest region of Galicia. There, he met with Antonio Lopez, a local viticultor who introduced him to Alvaredos, a small town surrounded by mountains and vines planted on steep, terraced slopes. Together they explored the vineyards, smelled the soil, and quickly realized their mutual desire to unearth the potential held in these ancient sites and indigenous varieties.
After a long drive together back to Madrid, a lifelong partnership was established. After nearly 20 years, Antonio fulfilled his ardent desire to pay tribute to the small village and his grandfather who introduced him to the land when he was a child. The project also represents a new opportunity for Paul to champion one of the oldest and forgotten corners of viticulture in Spain by honoring its unique history while playing a role in elevating the region for present and future generations.
White grapes are used in two famous types of Spanish wine, Sherry and Cava, but we will limit this discussion to still whites. Let’s begin with perhaps the best known and most highly regarded internationally, Albariño . Produced in the region of Rías Baixas, just above Portugal in northwestern Spain, Albariño typically sees no or little oak and is medium to medium-plus in body. Aroma and flavor notes often include citrus and peach, often with subtle floral notes and a suggestion of sea spray, giving the wine a zesty feel. Often bottled as a single varietal, Albariño is sometimes blended with other indigenous grapes like Loureira and Treixadura. Try one of these Spanish whites from Forjas del Salnes.
Let’s look at a few other Spanish white wines. Godello also hails from northwestern Spain and presents a profile of grapefruit, minerality and a slight smoky quality. Enjoy a bottle from Bodegas Avancia. The region of Rueda, northwest of Madrid, is home to Verdejo , which makes refreshing, un-oaked white wines whose herbal vibrancy recalls Sauvignon Blanc . Protos makes a tasty version. Up north in the Basque region, we find the wine called Txakoli (sometimes called Txakolina). Pronounced “sha-ko-LEE,” it’s made from a local grape called Hondurrabi Zuri and is light, fresh, citrusy, dry … and with razor sharp acidity that makes it a fantastic partner with local seafood and tapas. Ameztoi Gertariako is a good Spanish white wine producer to check out.
The Penedѐs region, best known for the oceans of delicious Cava it sends to the world, also produces still Spanish whites, sometimes from international varieties like Chardonnay , and often from the same grapes used for Cava. These include Parellada, Xarel-lo and Macabeo. Avaline produces a fine example of Penedes white. Finally, we visit the Rioja region. While it is historically and internationally famous for its reds, Rioja also produces fine Spanish white wines. These are usually based on Viura (the local name for Macabeo) and make good everyday sippers, although some aged versions can be stunningly complex. A good place to start is the white Rioja from Bodegas Muga.
As you can see, Spanish white wines offer a vast opportunity for exploration!