Saturday, August 01, 2015

Happy International Albariño Day!

Today is the 4th annual International Albariño Day (IAD).  Who knew?  I didn't.  And I can't even remember how I heard about IAD, but I have had a Post-it note on the side of my laptop to remind me about it for almost 2 months now. Then I forgot, completely ignoring the Post-it note until yesterday afternoon when I decided I needed a domestic Albariño with which to celebrate IAD 2015.  And I knew exactly which domestic Albariño I wanted: a Hendry Albariño. After a quick phone call to the winery to make sure somebody would be there I headed over to Hendry Ranch (with Vinomaker and Vinodog 2 in tow).
Located on the benchlands between the Carneros and Mt. Veeder AVAs, the folks at Hendry have been farming wine grapes since 1939. The Hendry family grow 10 different grape varieties on 114 planted acres in the cooler climate, woodsy-westside of the Napa Valley. On arrival at the winery, I was greeted by name (it's the small things that make a difference) by Therese who I had spoken with on the telephone. Vinomaker and I were invited into the lab/office and Therese went off  to grab a fresh bottle of Albariño for us to taste.  In the lab, doing some research on a computer, was George Hendry the owner, farmer and winemaker.  George stopped what he was doing and spent some time chatting with me and Vinomaker about his vineyard and his knowledge (and Napa Valley history) of the Albariño grape.  When I told George that I wanted to purchase a bottle of his Albariño to drink on IAD, he smiled and said, "I learned something new today."  We all laughed.
And what did I learn yesterday, besides the vital statistics (clone 3 on St. George rootstock), of Mr. Hendry's Albariño vines?  Not much, but I was however reminded of something.  And that something was this: that on any given day in the Napa Valley one just might happen to chance upon a passionate individual, in a building that feels and looks like a real winery, who will be more than happy to take time and prattle on about all things grape with you, who walks the talk, and who then is eager to share his wine with you.   It wasn't about the ostentatiously grandiose, maniacally-marketed, gimmicky green-certified, artwork-crammed temples to all-things-bacchanalian.  The real Napa Valley is none of those things; it is about the dedicated farmer who painstakingly nurtures his grapevines in order to make the best vintage of wine that Mother Nature will allow.  A refreshing experience.
The wine?  The Hendry, 2014 Albariño (Napa Valley) is delightful.  With lemon, grass and a pineappley/passion fruit vibe the wine is crisp, clean and right on point.  This Albariño does not mess around on the palate, with well focused acidity it leaves the old taste buds wanting more. Good thing that Vinomaker bought 6 bottles.
Happy International Albariño Day to all!


Dennis Tsiorbas said...

I have to start ordering wines through the mail (I've resisted doing this), and this will have to be one of them!

Vinogirl said...

NHW: Couldn't you beg your very favourite local wine retailer to try to get specific wines for you?

Dennis Tsiorbas said...

VG: The issue is their storage and conditions of transportation, something I've been trying to get answers to, cause I'm insecure about how much heat their wines are subjected to in their warehouse and delivery trucks. NHLS have a new affiliate, and I've been wondering about what might be some cooked wines I've bought, which would reflect on the winery if not dismissed as "bad" wines.
Tasting wines at the winery sure seemed to bring-out a freshness, a livelier quality in a consistent way.
So, I'm left with an occasional purchase at the NHLS and a growing list of wines shipped to my home which creates other problems for me.
Not really sure what I'll do just yet.

Thomas said...


New Hampshire is what is known as an alcohol control state. The state handles wine sales. A control state buys what it wants to buy, not necessarily what its customers want.

Thud said...

The sides of the valley are so different, I can't decide which I like best.

Vinogirl said...

NHW: I understand. I don't think wine is quite as delicate as some make out, or else I would never buy an Italian wine, or any other foreign wine, here in Napa if that were the case.

Tomasso: I am well aware of the crazy shipping laws in the USA. But NHW gets a very good selection of wines in NH right now, so I can only imagine that the consumer has some, if only tiny, influence on the buyers, or at least on what sells.

Thud: Definitely very different. Totally different feel on the westside.

Dennis Tsiorbas said...

VG: Thanks for your input on the frailty of wine, and surely I thought the same thing about Italy!