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A tale of two “rinos”: Arizona and Spain

Posted on: January 20th, 2015 by Tom Peiffer No Comments

Of all the wines that are favorites to stage for side-by-side tastings, Albariño whites don’t normally top the list. But when Arizona’s Wilhelm Family Vineyards started offering their own version of Albariño a few years ago, an idea was born.

Spanish and Arizona AlbarinoWhy not do a little “taste-off” between Arizona and Spain. Of course, when it comes to Spanish Albariños that are similar in price to Wilhelm’s offering, those from Spain’s the Rias Baixas region immediately comes to mind.

Noted for their crisp and dry Albariños, this region exemplifies itself as one of the world’s gourmet seafood and wine pairing treasures. And any American wine that can measure up to these Spanish classics, when­­ similarly priced, deserves a little attention.

So try this, get on Wilhelm’s website and order a bottle(s) of their Albariño for $22. Then stop by Total Wine and pick up a bottle(s) of Martin Codax Albariño for $13. Put ‘em in coupled glasses, pair with ample portions of shrimp cocktail and see what you think.

Sip one, eat a little shrimp, sip the other, eat a little more shrimp then take a few notes. It’s easy. And you may discover that each has its high points, but in a complimentary way. Something that’s missing in one often shows up in the other. What’s in the glass? The sea? The fields? The rocks? Springtime? You’ll figure it out.

Finally, compare the bouquets, the mid palate, the seafood pairing ability, and the finish. Depending on your taste, either one could come out on top. Many have a hung jury! So enjoy these little quaffers and realize why so many wine lovers tend to keep a little Albariño around for those times when it’s “so hard to decide” just what to open. A good “riño” will always fill in the gaps.

Serve from the fridge nicely chilled (50-55 degrees).

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About the Author - Tom Peiffer

Tom has been an avid wine consumer and collector for over 20 years. This pastime has taken he and his family on many visits to wine growing regions, including Arizona. During these excursions, with the accompanying tastings and lectures, it became clear that there is no "magic bullet" wine. For each wine contains its own character, strong points, and weaknesses. Sharing these experiences to help anyone purchase locally available wines is his goal.

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