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Benito Santos Albarino Pago de Xoan 2007

Albarino from Rias Baixas, Spain
    12.5% ABV
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    12.5% ABV

    Winemaker Notes

    Old vine Albarino - 80-100 yrs, planted on ungrafted vines in pure granite soils.

    Critical Acclaim

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    Benito Santos

    Benito Santos

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    Benito Santos, Rias Baixas, Spain
    Benito Santos is a central figure in the modern history of Albariño and the Rías Baixas D.O. He began working in his grandfather’s vineyards in the 1930s and made wine for serving in his bar – wines that repeatedly won prizes in the annual Fiesta de Albariño in Cambados. He was instrumental in the creation of the Rías Baixas D.O. in the 1980s.

    San Franciscan Todd Blomberg worked with Benito Santos and took over after the latter’s death. Todd now farms three vineyards in the Val do Salnés subzone of Rías Baixas, each of which is next to and named after an ancient church: Saiar, Bemil, and Xoan. Todd bottles each of the three vineyards separately in order to preserve the distinctive terruños of each. Benito Santos is among the few producers in the D.O. who’s making, real, unconfected wines - wines that taste like Albariño and express their terroir. As Albariño has become fashionable, many producers have taken the path of making highly commercial, heavily manipulated wines. In particular, many producers use specific yeasts to get more tropical, fruity aromas and flavors. Benito Santos wines are salty, mineral, and structured. All of the vineyards are now certified organic – a rarity in rainy, mildew-prone Rías Baixas – and winemaking uses only native yeasts and minimal sulfur.

    Rias Baixas

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    Named after the rías, or estuarine inlets, that flow as far as 20 miles inland, Rías Baixas is an Atlantic coastal region with a cool and wet maritime climate. The entire region claims soil based on granite bedrock, but the inlets create five subregions of slightly different growing environments for its prized white grape, Albariño.

    Val do Salnés on the west coast is said to be the birthplace of Albariño; it is the coolest and wettest of all of the regions. Having been named as the original subregion, today it has the most area under vine and largest number of wineries.

    Ribeira do Ulla in the north and inland along the Ulla River is the newest to be included. It is actually the birthplace of the Padrón pepper!

    Soutomaior is the smallest region and is tucked up in the hills at the end of the inlet called Ria de Vigo. Its soils are light and sandy over granite.

    O Rosal and Condado do Tea are the farthest south in Rías Baixas and their vineyards actually cover the northern slopes of the Miño River, facing the Vinho Verde region in Portugal on its southern bank.

    Albariño gives this region its fame and covers 90% of the area under vine. Caiño blanco, Treixadura and Loureira as well as occasionally Torrontés and Godello are permitted in small amounts in blends with Albariño. Red grapes are not very popular but Mencía, Espadeiro and Caiño Tinto are permitted and grown.

    Albarino

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    Bright and aromatic with distinctive floral and fruity characteristics, Albariño has enjoyed a surge in popularity over the last couple of decades. This grape claims dual citizenship of both Spain (in the Rías Baixas region) and Portugal, where it is widely planted in the northwest and is known as Alvarinho. In recent years, plantings have increased throughout California.

    In the Glass

    Bursting with rich, ripe flavor, Albariño can show flavors of orange blossom, lime, pear, melon and white peach. It may also have notes of raw almond, freshly cut grass, jasmine or geranium. The best examples boast zingy acidity and often a briny, mineral quality. It is typically fermented in stainless steel to preserve purity of fruit, though oak-aged examples can provide a weighty yet refreshing alternative to Chardonnay with surprising potential for aging. Due to Albariño’s thick skins and large number of pips, it often shows a hint of attractive bitterness on the palate.

    Perfect Pairings

    Albariño loves seafood, and can be paired with a variety of marine delicacies. Its distinctive waxy texture and lemony acidity make it a perfect pairing with fresh sardines, oysters, octopus or squid.

    Sommelier Secret

    Albariño is considered an aromatic variety, and actually shares characteristic with Viognier, Riesling, Gewürztraminer and Muscat. If you enjoy these elegantly perfumed whites, chances are you’ll love Albariño.

    UWWFW5703_2007 Item# 113083