Friday, April 4, 2014

Great Albariño from Napa

Thank God, Bedrock winemaker and owner, Morgan Twain-Peterson, is making value California wines, not pricey cult Napa wines. He could've easily taken the latter route as he trained at Chateau Lynch-Bages in Bordeaux.

I try to get my hands on everything Morgan makes as I’ve yet to find one that’s not satisfying. One that stands out among all the gems in his range is this Albariño. Yes, that cool climate grape from the green fields of Galicia in northern Spain and Vinhos Verde in northern Portugal. It turns out that much like the Iberian peninsula, fog-shrouded Los Carneros on the southern end of Napa also has cool, verdant vineyards that grow superb Albariño.

Morgan and his partner for this Abrente label, Michael Havens, source fruit from Stewart Ranch Vineyard in Carneros. This vineyard, as Carneros, is known for Pinot Noir, but Albariño is its hidden gem. It only needed Morgan to guide them to pick early enough while there is good acid balance and the sugars don’t produce such high alcohol. The 2013 Abrente Napa Albariño is aromatic, modest in alcohol (13%), and captures precisely the complex and refreshing qualities of great Albariño.

Albariño is not just some quaffer wine. A serious one like this Abrente is richly flavored and can gain more complexity with age. Yet, I’m glad people don’t take Albariño too seriously, that’s what makes it more fun and keeps the price down.

Napa Valley Albariño, Abrente 2013 $23.00