2005 Castineira Albarino Dry White Wine

Price: $6.99 @ Trader Joe’s imported by Evaki

What They Said:

Couldn’t find any good tasting notes specific to the 2005 so I guess you have to trust me for the time being.

What I Think:

Oh the disappointment, I saw the new label and immediately sensed trouble. If I were to make the ten commandments of buying wine at TJ’s somewhere in the upper half would be “Thou shalt always be scared of a new label.” The reasoning for this is lots of the bottlings at TJ’s are private labels. When I see a new label you can usually ascertain that this is not from the first run and means that this version was made from a different batch of grapes. Given that it is different batch of grapes and this bunch was bought after the first my thought process leads me to believe that it is of a lower quality and thus my expectations plummet. I learned this with $2 Buck Chuck way back. When it first came out it was drinkable, as time passed though it would get worse and worse. I figured they were making this on a supply and demand basis. As supply dwindled and demand remained they would buy more juice and get it in the bottle with quality degrading as the supply of juice dwindled. Could be wrong as they would have to have wines sitting in barrels waiting to go but the logic all makes sense in theory so I am sticking to it.

Now back to this wine and why that last diatribe doesn’t even matter. When I got home I realized this was a different vintage. The one that I had come to know and love was the ’04 and this was an ’05. Still leery of the label change, why mess with a good thing! When I finally opened it my suspicions seem warranted though only mildly. This one certainly seemed weaker. It just didn’t have the same zing to it that the ’04 did. It was there, but it wasn’t there if that could possible make sense. It just didn’t seem to have the depth of varietal characteristics that the previous version did. The citrus flavors seem blunted in comparison and the raciness that use to last through the finish now seems a little overly acidic and becomes bitter and sour towards the end. This one certainly isn’t the discovery its predecessor is though I would love to try the two side by side. Maybe I can track down a bottle of that ’04, in the meantime I’ll try and do some research on vintage reports for this region.

For now I’ll rate this one as 12th bottle more based on my memories of the ’04 that this effort. Just want to make sure before I strike it from the list. Feel free to wait for the next write up or move on in the meantime. The Kono Sauvignon Blanc would certainly be a better choice if you are just grabbing one bottle for dinner.

Rating: 12th Bottle

2004 Castineira Albarino Dry White Wine

Price: $7.99 @ Trader Joe’s

What They Said:

Per quaffability “Lately it seems like Albarino is mostly famous for being unknown — or is that an oxymoron? Whatever, it’s a great varietal that more people should try, especially of they’re looking for solid, food-friendly wines at budget prices. The first time I tried an Albarino, I thought of Sauvignon Blanc crossed with dry Reisling, and that’s what you usually get, a nice balance between the floral/mineral elements of Riesling and the citrusy element of Sauvignon Blanc.

This Spanish wine might be best consumed in a darkened room, as the color is a disturbingly electric yellow. The nose is muted, but shows pretty aromas of orange blossoms, lemon, and gravel. It’s rounder and more forward on the palate, with nice balance, good flavors, really good texture, and a surprisingly long finish marked by grapefruit rind.

This is an appealing wine that drinks well by itself or at the table, and it’s an outstanding value. Drinking it, I thought I really need to be drinking more whites, and more Albarino, when I’m looking for good wines under $10.”

What I Think:

I am a bit of a sucker for Spanish wines, lets get that out of the way upfront. That being said this is an excellent wine, especially at this price point. It has all the characteristics of a nice Kiwi Sauvignon Blanc. Nice and dry in the mouth with that nice mineral undertone and freshness cutting across the palate lingering on for quite some time. I just finished my last bottle of this and returned from the local TJ’s with a 2005 version that has a much prettier label…this is usually a bad sign.  Here’s to hoping it is just as good.

Rating: Bulk Buy