Sal da Terra Albariño Rías Baixas 2020 is a dry white wine with a lovely fragrance – a distinctive peach flesh aroma, apricots and citrus fruits. On the palate the wine is fruity (apples, peaches, lime and apricots) with some spice, mint and almond notes. There is crisp lime on the finish. The wine from Rías Baixas in Northern Spain is quite rich but the minerality and crisp acidity from this particularly cool vintage prevent the intense flavours making this wine too heavy. The structure and the more developed flavours mean that Sal da Terra Albariño 2020 is meant to be a wine to be consumed with food and it will stand up to quite strongly flavoured dishes but I am also partial to a glass on its own.
I fell in love with the aromatic grape variety, Albariño, a few years ago and have been converting people over to its wines ever since. Albariño is one of the best Spanish still white wines and although there are a lot of cheaper versions, there are also some great quality Albarinos like Sal da Terra Albariño Rías Baixas 2020 which is organic (currently uncertified) and vegan-friendly. The 2018 was described by JancisRobinson.com as “a wine to make me fall in love with Albariño again” – and this vintage does the same. The Rías Baixas region with its relatively cool (and somewhat damp) climate produces the best examples. The grape is low-yielding which adds to the concentration and complexity of the wines. Albariño is widely regarded as an aromatic grape variety though the wines manage to combine fruity flavours with crisp minerality and fresh acidity. Some of this wine was fermented in large chestnut barrels and then blended with wine fermented in concrete so the wood influence is very subtle. And chestnut barrels differ from oak barrels in that they are produced by boiling or steaming the wood rather than by toasting it and therefore the effect of the wood is very limited.