2016 Zarate Albariño
Region: Rias Baixas < Spain
Vineyard/Cellar Stats: Biodynamic farming—they work the soil manually, using cover crops + herbal “teas” for vine treatments; 35-years-of-age vines on granite rich soils; 6 months on its fine lees, with 10-25% going through natural malolactic fermentation, depending on the year; bottled unfined/unfiltered; 12.5% ABV
Winemaker: Eulogio Pomares
Even if you don’t know Spanish wine, you probably know Albariño, which has become the Pinot Grigio of Spain: a one-dimensional dry white for entry-level drinkers or patio pounding. Crowd pleasing but boring, and most often industrially produced. The Zarate is none of those things. The product of careful biodynamic farming, old vines, rich granitic soil, hands-off cellar work, and a nerdy winemaker (7th-generation Eulogio Pomares) who studied in Germany because he sees a parallel between Riesling and Albarino, this wine delivers an electric jolt of dimension and complexity. Razor-sharp, bony, briny and lemon-lime pop rocks, with a huge blast of mineral freshness and acidity, it’s like drinking a not-sweet margarita, heavy on the lime juice, with a kiss of salt on the rim.