Albariño 'El Palomar' Zarate, Rias Baixas 2014

Zarate El Palomar Albarino.jpg
Zarate El Palomar Albarino.jpg

Albariño 'El Palomar' Zarate, Rias Baixas 2014

24.50

From the oldest vineyard in Rias Baixas comes Zarate's 'El Palomar' Albarino 2014, named after the beautiful dovecote that sits in the middle of the vines. I spent a mostly enjoyable couple of hours with Eulogio Pomares, the winemaker, learning about ungrafted vines, pergola training and how the Romans came to this region for salt. I say 'mostly', because our tour of the vineyard was interrupted by a vicious dog fight that needed our immediate attention.

The Wine Advocate: "The only one wine that sees any oak here is the 2014 Albariño El Palomar. It is sourced from an ancient 0.36-hectare plot of ungrafted Albariño, which is believed to be the oldest vineyard in the whole of Rías Baixas. The granite soils are shallow and tend to produce low yields (44 hectoliters per hectare) that give way to straight, vertical and mineral wines. 2014 is no exception, and it was also produced following the same procedure as previous vintage, fermentation in a 2,200-liter oak vat that was already eight-years-old and therefore quite neutral. The vat allows for a slow oxygenation, even if the wine is kept in contact with the lees until after malolactic (another peculiarity of this wine). This wine is always 100% malolactic. In 2014 for the first time Eulogio Pomares did not use any sulphur until bottling. After the first racking the wine is kept in contact with the fine lees before bottling. This has a very different profile, a little wild, full of character, very flinty, with a smoky touch (but not from the oak, from the lees and the sensation when you hit a flint stone with an iron). The profile is very sharp, austere, electric and focused, long and vertical, closer to a wine from Mosel to a Burgundy. This is a step up with a more clear mineral profile. Some might not like it; I love it. 2,600 bottles were filled in November 2015. Zárate is an old name in the Salnés that has come to the forefront in the last few years, given the quality and consistency of their wines. They work 6.54 hectares split into 11 plots in the parishes of Sisán and Padrenda of Meaño, that have for a long time being considered the cradle of Albariño." 95 points

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