July 29th, 2019 | Tasting
Now that the 2018 vintage has been fully launched into the market, I thought that it might be a good time to write a few follow up notes about the finished wines that we are now selling. Of course, it’s true that we’re not too far away from picking the 2019, but obviously, owing to our extended lees contact, the 2018 wines are only just out there.
I especially wanted to write about our 2018 albariño because it is, in many ways, an a-typical wine – not a bad wine, just a bit different from the ‘norm’. In this case the difference stems entirely from the weather in the period leading up to picking. After a comparatively poor early summer, the months of August and September turned a potentially average vintage into something quite different (and unexpected). The hot weather accelerated ripening of the fruit, so much so that the finally maturation was super-quick and the window for optimum harvesting was actually quite short. Indeed, it was every man (and his dog), out picking as quickly as humanly possible. Despite these super-human efforts, the harvested fruit was still extremely ripe, with a slightly higher potential alcohol and marginally lower acidity than normal.
In my own textbook, the ideal range of alcohol for an albariño would be between 11.5% and 12.5%. In 2018 we have around 13%. The first impression when tasting our 2018 wine is ripe, concentrated fruit, with perhaps a bit more weight and body than we have come to expect. From this ripeness comes a sensation of sweetness, but this is simply an illusion. Analysis reveals that our finished 2018 wines have between 2 and 5g/l of residual sugar (normally considered to be dry). The albariño grape naturally has a very intense fruit, which in more typical vintages would be very ‘focused’ and is not usually described as being as rich. In this vintage the apparent richness comes, of course, from the elevated alcohol, giving the wine a touch more viscosity and greater ‘mouthfeel’. Despite these slightly a-typical characteristics the wine still has a good, fresh acidity on the finish, albeit slightly shrouded by the ripeness of the fruit.
In summary, our 2018 wines are very good, easy drinking and quite approachable from the very beginning of their life-cycle. In some vintages, when the wines are a less ripe (and more typical), they can have a slightly ‘angular’ edge to them, which can sometimes take a little time in bottle to ’round off’ and soften. In 2018 this is not the case.