Sunset on the Atlantic Ocean

Albariño Time! - Two of our favorite Albariños from Albamar and Nanclares y Prieto


Here we are in those sultry days of August, when our wine inclinations lean towards anything cold, and the food pairing and pure refreshment value of clean, mineral white wines is paramount. As honorary Muscadet Ambassadors, we are known to extol the virtues of the whites from the Pays Nantais, but today we focus our attention on two whites from the Atlantic coast of Spain, from arguably two of the very best producers in the region. We've been preaching about Xurxo Alba's wines for years now, as Xurxo's Albamar project has epitomized the laser-like precision of fine Albarinos and become a standard for us, from his flagship white on offer today to the longer lees aged and single-vineyard expressions. While extoling the virtues of Albamar to customers this Summer, I have often referred to the other "entry-level" Albarino that completely BLOWS me away, the Nanclares y Prieto 'Dandelion.'  We've been waiting for 2022 vintage of Dandelion to arrive to New York, and it's finally here! It's a rare occasion when a fantastic and well-researched article by friend of the shop Eric Asimov appears in the New York Times right when the wines are arriving on our shelves! One could say he's got his finger on the pulse, and we are couldn't agree more with him on the fact that these are THE ones to try,* as a gateway, a refresher (on how great Albarino can be, but also just as a refresher), and as an eye-opening (and palate entertaining) experience. *Asimov of course highlights several other producers, check his article to read more!

Xurxo Alba (photo from Cream Wine Co.)

Xurxo Alba is making a number of expressions of Albariño and other local Galician grapes in Cambados, in the Rías Baixas DOC in Galicia. His farming and winemaking are innovative and experimental, as he pursues organics and biodynamics in this challenging climate, ferments his wines exclusively with native yeasts, and adds little to no sulfur during production. This is an extremely Atlantic-influenced area, and the Albamar wines show that influence clearly. Fun fact: The Albamar name comes from not only Xurxo's last name, but also the phrase al alba del mar (by the sea shore).   

Nanclares y Prieto (Alberto Nanclares and his winemaking partner, Silvia Prieto) farm two-and-a-half hectares of scattered plots of pergola trained Albariño around Cambados in Rias Baixas. They produce a range of wines, including serious single vineyard wines from very old vineyards.

Alberto and Silvia

Yields are kept low, seaweed from the nearby Atlantic is used as fertilizer, and there is no plowing. The same care and attention is taken in the cellar, where Alberto and Silvia avoid additives (other than small amounts of SO2), ferment with indigenous yeasts, and neither fine nor filter the wines. They celebrate the acidic structure of Albariño, eschewing any attempt to deacidify the wines. In their cellar, malolactic fermentation is a rarity, so the wines are defined by their racy, vibrant acidity. 

A similarity between these wines and our beloved French Muscadet is of course the Atlantic influence, and the unique concentration of myriad types of granite, schiste, and slate, all of which lend pronounced minerality to the wines of the area. It should be mentioned that an important factor here is the distinction between vines farmed conventionally with chemical fertilizers vs. organically farmed vineyards with deep root sytems that are able to access the mineral rich bedrock/sub-soil. In an area that is perhaps the most challenging to farm in all of Western Europe in regards to mildew and other humidity related maladies, these are the truly some among the few producers and growers who strive to work with as little intervention as possible in the vineyards and in the cellar, and we applaud their hard work!

For anyone who is interested to explore the wines of Albamar or Nanclares y Prieto more extensively, please email us here, or stay tuned for an offer of unique and limited bottlings from these fantastic producers.

Albamar 2022 Rias Baixas Albariño

This beloved entry level cuvée from Albamar is made from grapes sourced from multiple sites with mainly sandy soil. The fruit from each parcel is vinified separately (some in stainless steel, some in barrels) gaining structure and complexity of flavor from six months spent on the fine lees. This is a very good, classic expression of Albariño with plenty of saline minerality and joyous notes of stone-fruit and sea air. The 2022 is everything we want our Albariño to be - direct and fresh, with laser-like acidity but also revealing layers of mineral flavors and somehow feeling balanced and not overly acidic. You'll regret just getting one bottle so at least double up!

  • white
  • 3 in stock
  • $27.99

  • Organic
  • Biodynamic
  • Low Sulfur

Nanclares y Prieto 2022 Rias Baixas Dandelion Albariño

Alberto Nanclares and Sylvia Prieto are making expressive, exciting wines from Albarino and other local grapes in Rias Baixas. This wine is from multiple sites in Cambados on granitic and sandy soils. The vines range in age from 30 to 60 years, a the wine is fermented with indigenous yeasts and raised in small tanks for close to a year. We just tasted the 2022 a few days ago, and it is better than even we expected, and we're always have high expectations for this wine! Delicate acidity, stones, and dry melon notes. Unlike the '21 which was perhaps a bit more stern and ungiving when it was released, the 2022 Dandelion is a very complete wine and ready to drink...right now! To be fair, it will probably be even better with 2-5 years in bottle.

  • white
  • 14 in stock
  • $31.99

  • Organic
  • Biodynamic
  • Low Sulfur