DO Rías Baixas, on the Northwest Atlantic coast of Spain, is home to the queen of Spanish white grapes – Albariño. This rocky coastline is stark and lush all at once, with cold wet winds coming off the ocean providing moisture for plant growth as well as harsh climate for growing wine grapes. Rías Baixas is comprised of 5 non-contiguous subzones that give a wide spectrum and rich tapestry of terroir to Albariño, which is a grape that is known for showing its provenance very clearly. In the case of Columna, we find ourselves in Condado de Tea, on the banks of the Miño river, inland from the coast and just above the border with Portugal. As the warmest and driest subzone, Condado de Tea produces wines that showcase more generous fruit and ample body than those from the coast. Alberto Orte makes this wine with Rodri Méndez, from vineyards planted in the mid to late 70s in granite soils. Both winemakers share a philosophy of thoughtful winemaking, and Columna is painstakingly handmade from harvest to bottle, using ambient yeast fermentation. Finished in stainless steel, Columna is a fresh, approachable expression of Albariño that is a versatile pair for a wide variety of food or delicious by itself.
WHAT MAKES THIS WINE UNIQUE?
This is a generous, approachable expression of 100% Albariño from Condado de Tea, an undersung subzone of Rias Baixas. Grown in warmer and drier conditions, Columna achieves beautiful balance and ripeness under the careful guidance of Rodri Mendez, considered one of the best growers and winemakers in Galicia and a world-class authority on Albariño.
Sustainably grown vines planted in 1988 (on average). Tended on the classic Pergola system in granite and alluvial soil at 44 m (135 ft) average elevation.
Albariño’s crisp clean flavors are extremely versatile. Seafood, clams, oysters are what the local Galician people eat with this queenly grape. It also pairs like magic with Sushi, Indian, or Thai. Other pairings that are successful include hard-to-pair, popular take-out meals like cold sesame noodles, chicken tikka masala, pad thai, and tacos.
VINIFICATION AND AGEING:
Fermentation occurs naturally utilizing indigenous yeasts that live on the skin of the grapes. Before fermentation the grapes macerate at cool temperature (39F) for 1-2 days. The wine is aged in stainless steel tanks.
PRODUCTION: 1,300 cases
LOCATION, SOIL, CLIMATE:
Rías Baixas / Subzone of Condado de Tea (Zone # 1) towards the west, extends westwards from Tui along the Miño valley up to the neighbouring Riberiro DO. The landscape is more abrupt and consists of several small river valleys. The soils are granite and slate based.
Brilliant yellow. Lively aromas of quince, lemon zest and jasmine pick up a strong mineral element with air. Dry, sharply focused and nervy on the palate, offering densely packed, refreshingly bitter citrus pith, pear skin and honeysuckle flavors that show excellent clarity. Closes taut and stony, displaying tight grip, a hint of honeysuckle and lingering florality.– Josh Raynolds.