I miss Spain. Every time I pass by a water cooler, seeing the cone-shaped cups reminds me of those used to catch the dripping fat from the legs of jamon that hang in tapas bars. Whenever I go out to get an espresso, my mind flashes back to a small cafe in San Sebastian where an octogenarian Spaniard pulled a double shot while a cigarette with two inches of ash hung precariously from his mouth just inches above my cup. I miss walking through the Boqueria in Barcelona, staring mesmerized by sea creatures that look to have crawled straight out of a National Geographic special. And then there is the wine.
Whether it is the fun vibrant and all night partying Cava, or the damn-the-health-department, room temperature pinxos partner Tempranillo, I miss the wines even more. One wine in particular is Albariño. Produced in the area within Green Spain known as Rias Bixas, this wine has both body and zing. Imagine the love child of Riesling and Viognier produced by an evening of rolling around on the beach. I wish I could enjoy it every day. But outside of making regular trips across the Atlantic, or buying products that have made that journey for me, there is no way to avoid leaving a huge carbon footprint.
Fortunately there is Verdad. Louisa Lindquist, wife of Qupé founder Bob, also has nostalgic longings for España. Here in Edna Valley, the Lindquists have planted Albariño and Tempranillo in the biodynamically farmed Sawyer-Lindquist vineyards. The grapes thrive here in the California sunshine that makes a more than adequate substitute for home.
Verdad translates to truth, and this is certainly a true expression of this grape, easily standing shoulder to shoulder with its Spanish brethren. Rich aromas of peach and apricot dance their way up the glass carrying bouquets of lemon and orange blossoms. In the mouth it is sultry and viscous, sliding over the tongue like silk pajamas charged with acidic electricity. What to have with fish? This wine. What to have with pork? This wine. What to sit back and sip while daydreaming yourself back to the hot endless nights of Spain? Yes, this wine. No need to buy an overpriced airline ticket and sit shoulder to shoulder with sick and surly strangers. Grab a bottle of Verdad Albariño and sip yourself onto a Spanish sojourn instead.
Sawyer Lindquist Vineyard Verdad Albariño, retails about $20.
Los Angeles resident Michael Newsome, a wine buyer for Whole Foods and a Certified Italian Wine Specialist, joins us every Tuesday for an exploration of California wine. See his previous posts here.
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