Gotas de Mar Albariño 2020, Spain
What: You never know where you are going to find your next bottle of favorite wine.
I was first attracted to the Gotas de Mar Albariño by the striking bottle, tall and thin, made of blue glass with bold white and blue stripes. But I was won over by what is inside the bottle.
This is a classic Albariño, with powerful stone fruit aromas and flavors with some minerality and a touch of the sea. If you have never had an Albariño you owe it to yourself to try one.
My wife Teri is a huge fan of Chardonnay, but she will never turn down an Albariño. They usually are crisp and clean, with a touch of minerality and loaded with flavor. While they usually are a touch on the lighter side, they have enough weight to handle most any seafood dish.
The Gotas de Mar is a pretty pale yellow in the glass, with interesting aromas of peaches and flowers. The first sip revealed peaches, then citrus and minerals. The light acidity is balanced by the rich fruit flavor. It is a terrific food wine.
A bonus is that the wine comes in at only 12 percent alcohol, so you can sip on it all afternoon and not worry too much about its effects.
The name Gotas de Mar means “sea spray,” and the wine proudly celebrates its coastal origins from the Rías Baixas region in Galicia, on the northwestern coast of Spain. The blue bottle is as vibrant and fun as the wine inside.
Sourced from the Condado de Tea sub-region the wine develops some richness by spending six months on the lees. The acidity and light minerality are a signature of the local granite soils.
Winery: The Gotas de Mar comes from an unusual sort of winery. Hammeken Cellars doesn’t own any vineyards, choosing the best wines from throughout Spain and then marketing them to the world.
The result is a distinctive collection of wines, modern, fruit forward, fresh and easy to understand. It is a unique model for Spanish wines.
Nicholas Hammeken’s early interest in wine has lead him to dedicate his career and life to his passion. After finishing his studies in Copenhaguen, he collaborated in sales and marketing roles within the wine industry, in France, Germany and the UK.
In 1996 Nichols formed his own company, initially called Vinnico Export, as a non-branded wine trader. The company’s first collection was Montgó, launched in 2001. This led to other successful brands such as Piquitos, Allegranza, Creencia, Oráculo, Tosalet, Gotas de Mar, Pasas and Radio Boka, to name a few.
In March 2014, Hammeken Cellars opened a branch overseas to go after the American market. The company has grown in sales and employees and has become one of the most important Spanish wine exporters. It sells more than 1.5 million cases of Spanish wines a year, and is present in more than 30 countries.
The company works with long-term partners to source fruit from more than 18 regions. Wine Director Marcelo Morales brings more than 20 years of winemaking experience to lead a team of six winemakers to directly manage every aspect from the vineyard to maturation.
Hammeken Cellars is based in Alicante on the Mediterranean coast of Spain.
Goes with: My friend Clint Bryant is one of the best and most adventurous cooks I know. He’s always coming up with something new. And he’s great about sharing.
Someone gave him a huge pile of crawfish, so Clint decided to cook them and share with friends. They were incredible.
I have boiled crawfish before, though they are difficult to find. But these were about the best I’ve ever tasted. I’m not sure what Clint did to these, but they were juicy and full of flavor.
I made a simple meal of crawfish tails and wild rice and we had a feast. I took the tails off the crawfish and peeled them. I just dunked them in boiling water to heat them up and placed them on the plate with the rice. Then we added a tossed salad.
We ate about 9 p.m. so it was pleasant eating dinner on the deck. The wine was a perfect match to the pungent crawfish.
Leaning back in our chairs listening to the frogs after dinner we felt like we were living the life. Great food, great wine, great friends. Perfect.
Albariño is perfect for seafood, but it is just fine with grilled or fried chicken, light salads or sipping without food.
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