Pazo de Villarei Albariño, 2015 – a wine for #SpanishLitMonth

Seeing as July is the month for all thing Spanish (see here for a link to Richard and Stu‘s Spanish Lit Month), I thought I would take the opportunity to post a short note on an Albariño I tasted recently. It doesn’t take much for me to get excited about Spanish whites as they constitute much of my summer drinking along with Italian whites and Provençal/Corsican rosés.  The wine in question is the Pazo de Villarei Albariño, 2015, from the Rías Baixas region in north-west Spain. (I’ve already written about a previous vintage of this wine, but the 2015 is the latest release.)

It’s a lovely wine; lemony, minerally and very refreshing. Plus it has a slight spritz that gives it a sort of joie de vivre which seems perfect for this time of year. If you’ve never tried Albariño before, the Villarei would make a good introduction to this grape variety, a staple of the Galicia area of Spain. This is a fresh, zingy, unoaked white wine which is light on its feet yet satisfying too. Shellfish or sea fillets would make a nice partner. As for a suitable book match, I have just the thing in mind: The House of Ulloa by Emilia Pardo Bazán, a Spanish classic set in Galicia. A review will follow later this month.

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Most of my favourite Albariños seem to clock in at the £12-14 level – Pazo de Señorans and Fefiñanes are terrific quality, but at > £10 pb they might not be everyone’s idea of an everyday wine. Up to until last year, I’d struggled to find a reliable Albariño at the sub £10 level, but the Villarei is keenly priced at £8.50. I think it’s great value for money.

I bought this wine from The Wine Society (I have a link to The Society, so the vast majority of my wines are purchased there). Alternatively, you can use Wine Searcher to look for stockists. If you can’t find the Pazo de Villarei, then the Pazo de Señorans and Fefiñanes are truly excellent wines, albeit a little more expensive.

My notes on another couple of favourite Spanish white wines can be found here, The Gaba do Xil is an unoaked Godello from Galicia while Las Olas is a Verdejo from the Rueda region. Enjoy.

26 thoughts on “Pazo de Villarei Albariño, 2015 – a wine for #SpanishLitMonth

      1. MarinaSofia

        Oooh, I may have to find out more. As a fan of Chablis, Pouilly Fumé, Pouilly Fuissé and Chateau Grillet Viognier, I like my French whites, but am always open to new suggestions. My head doesn’t always allow me to drink much red wine (I get migraines regularly), but I also like rose, which is very underappreciated in the UK.

        Reply
        1. JacquiWine Post author

          I enjoy a good Burgundy too, something like a Saint-Veran or a Chablis every now and again. I have to be in the mood for Pouilly Fume or Sancerre, but I do prefer Loire SB wines to their New Zealand equivalents which tend to be a bit full-on for my tastes.

          I’m a fan of French rose too, especially the Provençal and Corsican wines. Rose tends to get a bad wrap in some quarters, unfairly so imo. The restrained Provençal wines are absolutely gorgeous!

          Reply
          1. MarinaSofia

            Yes, full-on is exactly how I’d describe some of the Australian and NZ whites. Mind you, you can get some really poor, thin, acidic French ones too…

            Reply
            1. JacquiWine Post author

              Yes, indeed. I guess it’s the same with many things – there are good examples and there are poor ones. Katie Jones (of Domaine Jones in Roussillon) makes a gorgeous white, a Grenache Gris which is beautifully poised and herby. I might write about it at some point.

              Reply
  1. bookbii

    I don’t think I’ve ever had a Spanish white, but this sounds lovely. And I love how you link wine and books – two great pleasures. Lovely.

    Reply
    1. JacquiWine Post author

      The unoaked ones are worth trying, especially if you like fresh citrusy or stone fruit flavours – my favourites are are Albariño and Godello. The wine-and-book pairings are just a bit of fun really. Luckily I’ve been reading a novel set in Galicia for Spanish Lit Month, so it seemed like a good fit!

      Reply
    1. JacquiWine Post author

      Ha, easily done – especially when you’re tasting the wines in their natural habitat so to speak. Albariño is definitely worth seeking out if you haven’t tried it before. If you can’t find the producers I’ve recommended here then there are quite a few others around. I’m on my phone right now but will post a link when I get a chance. :)

      Reply
  2. gertloveday

    I really like Alberino, but we only pay about 25 dollars a bottle so not top quality. I will be in Portugal for a few weeks in September. What wines would you recommend there? Roses?

    Reply
    1. JacquiWine Post author

      Ooh, how lovely. Well, if you like albarino, then alvarinho is the Portuguese equivalent (same grape variety, just a different name). Personally, I don’t think you can far wrong with Portuguese whites. If the weather’s nice then vinho verde would be a great option as it’s fresh and spritzy. Most are blends of two or more local varieties (alvarinho is one of the six permissible grapes) although there’s been a shift towards the increased use of single varieties in recent years. Quinta de Azevedo is an uber-reliable producer and their wines are excellent value. Anselmo Mendes is another one to look out for. (Soalheiro Alvarinho is absolutely gorgeous, but at £14.95 in the UK its on the pricey side.)

      There are some lovely Portuguese reds around too. I would go for something from the Duoro or the Alentejo. Touriga Nacional, Touriga Franca and Aragonez are a few of the signature grape varieties (quite a few of the wines will be blends).

      We don’t see a lot of Portuguese rose in the UK so it’s been ages since I tried one. (Mateus rose has a lot to answer for!) I’m sure there are some nice ones around though. Would love to hear of any tips or recommendations from your trip.

      Reply
      1. gertloveday

        Mateus was big here as you would imagine. So sickly. We are walking in the Douro valley and and spending some time in Lisbon so it is great to have your recommendations. Thank you, Jacqui.

        Reply
  3. Desiree B. Silvage

    Congratulations, Jacqui, you have a palate that appreciates good wine. What a shame that alcohol taxes are so high in your country…! My friends and me still remember what we have to pay for a couple of bottles of Mateus in a restaurant. But was unavoidable because our culture, the Mediterranean, is always linked to the wine (drink with moderation, of course)

    Reply
    1. JacquiWine Post author

      Yes, the UK rates do make a difference. I guess that’s why trips to Calais and the surrounding area are so popular on account of the option to buy wine at French rates of duty. :-)

      Reply
    1. JacquiWine Post author

      I’m a big fan of new-wave Spanish whites, unoaked wines like this one as they’re just so fresh and appealing. The Villarei is well worth seeking out if you can find it – if not, most of the major supermarkets will have a decent Albariño in their range.

      Reply
  4. BookerTalk

    id never heard of that wine searcher site – this could prove to be a blessing and a curse (maybe i need to keep quiet about it or find my husband spending our inheritance…). We often find ourselves in a restaurant enjoying a particular label and pledging to track it down. but then we go and forget about it….

    Reply
    1. JacquiWine Post author

      Ha! It’s a useful little website, albeit a little rudimentary. There are others too (e.g. Vinopedia), but wine searcher seems to be the main one. Happy hunting. :)

      Reply
  5. Vishy

    This is the first time I am reading one of your wine reviews. Thank you, Jacqui! I don’t think I have ever tried a Spanish wine before. I will look for this one. Loved your review.

    Reply
    1. JacquiWine Post author

      Thanks for dropping by Vishy. The wine notes are just an occasional thing whenever I get a chance to tie one into a bookish theme. I’m a huge fan of the new-wave wines of Spain, especially the whites such as Albariño and Godello. Worth trying if you like fresh citrusy flavours and are in the market for something a little different from the norm. :)

      Reply
    1. JacquiWine Post author

      Thank you. I’m a big fan of these new-wave whites from Spain, so much verve and freshness compared to the more traditional wines of old. Thanks for the link to your blog – I will certainty check it out.

      Reply

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