Posts Tagged ‘Spanish wines’

Wine of the week – Bodega Castro Martin 2012 A2O Albariño Sobre Lias

The memory of the sub-freezing temperatures earlier this week was put to rest with today’s unrelenting warmth and the forecast of temperatures in the 80s this weekend.

The Bodegas Castro Martin 2012 Sobre Lias Albaiño

The Bodegas Castro Martin 2012 Sobre Lias Albaiño

Just right for a bit of gardening, maybe a tour on the bike and a chilled white wine on a shady deck.

Thanks to Cornerstone Communications Ltd., which represents the Spanish wine region Rias Baixas DO, I’ve been able to taste a selection of Albariños and this week’s wine comes from that package, the Bodega Castro Martin 2012 A2O Sobre Lias Albariño.

The name is pronounced “A to O,” which happen to be the first and last letters of “Albariño,” and spelled with a tilde over the “2” to make the connection.

The original bodega dates from the 1880s and in 1981 the winery and vineyards were purchased by current owner Domingo Martin Morales who installed stainless steel tanks (quite revolutionary back then but industry standards today) and built a new, multi-level winery.

This top-to-bottom processing helps reduce the need for pumping the juice, must and lees and cuts down on over-handling the wine.

Up to 2002 Bodegas Castro Martin made only one Albariño, the well-known Casal Caiero, but under the thoughtful management of Angela Martin, daughter of Domingo Martin Morales, there now are four wines, all albariños, each blended to take advantage of the different characteristics found throughout the bodega’s various vineyards.

The soils in this cool, maritime climate of northwest Spain are mineral-rich sandy loam overlaying granite and quartz. All of which contribute to the sharp minerality, floral/citrus aromatics and crisp acidity that makes these such great food wines.

Bodega Castro Martin labels the A2O “Sobre Lias,” signifying it ages for six months on its lees, adding complexity and character to the wine.

The website says the eye-catching label is designed for placement in wine bars, restaurants and regular bars, where it’s aimed at the younger wine drinkers looking for a food-friendly, low-alcohol wine.

There is citrus, pears and white flowers on the nose, with lime, ripe pears and that touch of Gallician minerality holding it all together.

Price is around $15.50. Imported by Frederick Wildman and Sons, N.Y.


Day Two at the Classic and a lesson from Spain with Marnie Old


The always entertaining and educative Marnie Old takes her audience on a lively trip through Spain’s best-known wine regions during her presentation Saturday at the 2013 Food & Wine Classic in Aspen.

ASPEN – The second day of the Food & Wine Magazine Classic is a day to catch up with some of the seminars missed on Day One.

Although there never is enough time to see everyone, the weekend schedule is flexible and offers repeat performances of most seminars, allowing me the chance to slip into Marnie Old’s presentation on “Unknown Wines from Spain’s Iconic Regions.”

Marnie Old is very popular, in part because she has a sparkling and engaging personality and also because she’s the best-prepared of the presenters I usually see at the Classic. While some of the presenters may offer difficult-to-see maps and some offer hand-outs listing the wines in their talk and others leave you guessing, Marnie has great maps and visual aids, as we called them in school, and she says it’s because talking to people is how she makes her living.

“A lot of (the speakers) are in the wine business, or own restaurants or aren’t around people a lot,” she said. “I’m the only one who makes her living as an author and speaker, so I know what it takes to capture an audience.”

And communicate she does. Lively, entertaining, not shy about dancing around the stage to make a point, Marnie engages the audience in her topic, which this time was about “breaking the mold” when it come to exploring Spanish wines.

In her quest, she had us tasting Tempranillo Blanco from Rioja; a dry Moscatel from Málaga; barrel-fermented Xarel-lo (one of the three grapes more commonly found in cava): a Caiño dominated red blend from Rías Baixas; “Niti,” a garnache/carineña blend from Priorat; and finally a Gran Reserva tempranillo from Bodegas Protos in Ribera del Duero.

The Tempranillo Blanco, from the five-generation Bodegas Valdemar, was especially interesting because the scarcity of these white-mutation Tempranillo grapes makes this a rarely seen varietal wine.

“Only a few bodegas have enough vines to make an unblended wine,” Marnie said. “But the family behind Valdemar has helped to discover and propagate the grape. We had only two of these wine shipped to us” for the Classic.

Marnie has published two books and is working on her third and also offers an iPad/iPhone app called “Wine Simplified.” She described it as an “interactive crash course for the wine curious.”

It’s available on her web site.

Now, it’s off to the day’s first Grand Tasting, where a world of wine is waiting.