Albariño, once “the little Spanish grape that could” has quietly become one of the fastest selling varietals sold in the United States. But aside from being a thirst quenching “patio pounder” it can be easy to forget real artisanal Albariño always goes one step further, transporting us to the rocky, windswept Spanish seaside. Granbazan has been a benchmark for real deal Albariño for well over a decade. Their superb and critically acclaimed 2017 “Ambar” bottling undoubtedly shows they’re still one of the best in the game.
More About the Wine
Granbazán is located in the Salnés Valley, in Vilanova de Arousa, close to Cambados. Their vineyards are mostly composed of rocky, granite soils, located over 260 feet above sea level. The elevation helps keep the vineyards cool throughout most of the year, peaking out at 85 degrees during the summer. What we usually forget about Galicia is just how rainy and humid the place is. This is why you see producers, including Granbazán, trellis their vines high off the ground to avoid mold and rot (the more sea breeze and air circulation, the less mold and rot).
So what separates “Ambar” from the rest of the pack? For starters it is produced from the estate’s oldest vines (over forty years old). More importantly, it is made exclusively from free-run juice – the juice released by the pile of grapes as their skins split under their own weight, before they are mechanically pressed. This is the crème de la crème of juice – the purest, least bitter expression you can possibly squeeze from the grape. With Ambar, you have a deliciously clear portrait of mineral, seasalt, honey and flowers. The bottle has been a classic for years and this 2017 is one of their best yet. If you own a pool, a patio or a boat–this is a requisite purchase!
2017 Granbazan Etiqueta Ambar Albarino
“Super fine with fragrant pear, jasmine and lemon-curd aromas. A super juicy and fleshy palate, where the acidity is right on. Bright, crisp and even finish.” 93 Points, James Suckling
“Pale yellow-gold. Bright and energetic on the nose, displaying mineral-inflected tangerine and pear scents and a subtle touch of honey. Taut and nervy on entry and then more fleshy in the mid-palate, offering bitter orange zest and quinine flavors and a deeper suggestion of pear nectar. Delivers a solid punch but comes off lithe, with firm closing bite, repeating minerality and a hint of bitterness.” 92 Points, Vinous