08 Paco & Lola, Rias Baixas White Wine Albarino
When I was younger, my parents would feed me green mangoes and salted pears. So, there you have it. That's the wine. But, even if you read this blog all the time, don't expect me to get all deep on you. Because it's not deep. We ate that because it tasted right. Ripe mangoes were for summer. Pears? Well, immigrants don't really know what pears are. So we better put some salt on them. Like an unoaked chardonnay, an unadulterated anything, this is a simply tart, unaromatic, lemony, and downright briny Rias Baixas wine. It might as well be a bottle of the Atlantic Ocean this Galician DO faces. I don't know if I want to drink this or season my fries with it. Mix it with sand and crust some whole fish with it. But use it just as that. An ingredient. Something to temper the amuse bouche, or aperitivo the good stuff, or go with that big platter of head-on shrimp on the table. That's all. Because by now, there are several producers in and around Rias Baixas really challenging the albarino grape at this pricepoint. Comparing it to chardonnay and sauvignon blanc, and then taking it to new, distinctly Spanish heights. And, sadly, the cooperative of Paco & Lola is not one of them. What it does do, however, is show us how great this grape is. That really, it is the default white wine. It's the wine that will do for anything at any time. And even in this state, the lingering question is why not? There are no flavor wheels. No whitewashed tasting rooms. When a wine writer holds this wine it evaporates. Only food critics get to understand. Not me, but maybe Tony Bourdain. Maybe that guy from Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives. Because as a wine writer, it's probably the one wine I can completely pan--which I guess, if you consider me a critic of any sort, I have to do here--yet drink an entire case of. I plan to. Just wait 'til the weather gets warmer. 'Til the early mangoes show on the markets at Devon street. The winter air turns dank and floral. Our neighbors bring their pears again. And the salt falls heavy from the dew.