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Home Winners > Winners 2015 > SPAIN: North-West, including Albariño

Winner Details

Spain: North-West, including Albariño 

2015: Gold 3 Silver 5 Bronze 3 Commended 4
2014: Gold 4 Silver 8 Bronze 3 Commended 5

Last year, we managed a perfectly balanced range of wines for our Gold List from north-west Spain: a red, two Albariños and a Godello. This year, with some notable exceptions, the results weren’t quite so positive – and nor was the feedback.

It is, perhaps, the problem of a marginal climate – that results are rarely consistent. And while there was a lot of pre-tasting affection for Galicia, the wines generally didn’t deliver enough for that love to survive to the results stage. Many of the Albariños, in particular, were felt to be rather underwhelming, too many of the reds out of balance and rather ‘hard’.

FOOTNOTE: Includes wine from Galicia, Valdeorras & Bierzo.

From the Tasting Teams

‘Quite a few of the Albariños were either thin or watery, so I was wondering if it might be a vintage issue?’ Christophe Richelet, consultant sommelier

‘I was pleasantly surprised by the [non-Albariño] whites. They really held their own, with great character and a lot of very individual character coming through. The top end, especially, showed really well.’ Michael Moore, Room 24

‘When the reds didn’t work it’s because they weren’t distinctive enough. We were looking for distinctive, non-Tempranillo wines and modern winemaking. I don’t think we saw enough of that.’ Martin Lam, team leader

‘The whites were really good food wines, with attractive aromatics and also some minerality, which you don’t always expect from Spain. People are excited enough about Spain, so I’m not sure these would even need a hand-sell.’ Jade Koch, team leader

‘We were trying to get beyond wines that were too angular. The reds that made it to medal were the ones that were well integrated and had a good sense of place.’ James Hocking, The Vineyard Group

Award winners

Found 15 wines

Spain: North West, including Albarino

Martín Códax, Organistrum, Albariño 2012, Rías Baixas, Spain

Gold medal winner

Gorgeous and complex, but softer and more delicate than its Gold neighbour from Castro Martin, this had our judges reaching for the adjectives. ‘Floral, honeyed and typical in style, with oak on the lighter side, very balanced,’ began team leader Martin Lam, with consultant sommelier Christophe Richelet noting: ‘Slatey minerality, cheesy dairy notes and a sour nuttiness to the palate, almost reminiscent of a Gueuze.’

£14.00 Liberty Wines

Castro Martin, Family Estate, Albariño 2013, Rías Baixas, Spain

Gold medal winner

Generosity of flavours and a taut freshness gave Castro Martin Gold once more for the latest vintage of its Family Estate Albariño. Consultant sommelier Christophe Richelet found ‘Japanese plums, umami, dried thyme, hints of smoke and lactic notes’ on the nose, adding: ‘Round, fleshy palate with good fruit and length.’ ‘Leesy, with celery vegetal notes and a beautiful mouthfeel,’ agreed Hawksmoor Air Street’s Julian Bicknell.

£11.67 Bibendum

Pazos del Rey, Sila, Mencía 2012, Monterrei, Galicia, Spain

Gold medal winner

'The ideal gastropub all-rounder,' team leader Natasha Hughes MW said of this nicely balanced Mencia. ‘Pretty, delicate nose of violets and sour cherry, followed by a juicy, fresh palate with bright red fruit notes and a moreish, peppery finish,’ said satisfied consultant sommelier Christophe Richelet, with Caroline Brangé of 28°-50° Mayfair agreeing: ‘Juicy, fleshy and generous, with good structure.' Hakkasan Group's Christine Parkinson felt it would work chilled too.

£7.55 Boutinot

Abanico, Diluvio, Albariño 2013, Rías Baixas, Spain

Silver medal winner

‘Honeysuckle, green apple aromas with a yeasty edge, honeycomb palate with a Riesling-esque freshness and a salty finish. Delicious,’ said a satisfied Julian Bicknell of Hawksmoor Air Street, with team leader Martin Lam finding it ‘very focused, more tangy than rich', and Morgan VanderKamer of Stanley's Dublin saying: 'Velvet acidity; juicy and balanced. Excellent.'

£9.35 Bancroft Wines

Somoza, Viña Somoza, Selección, Godello 2011, Valdeorras, Spain

Silver medal winner

‘An interesting alternative to a Chardonnay, with its buttery richness and full texture,’ said Room 24’s Michael Moore, with team leader Jade Koch adding: ‘Lemon, spice and warmth on the nose, with notes of straw on a sweet fruit, juicy, saline and chewy palate.’ Would match a variety of fish and chicken dishes, and salads.

£14.97 Matthew Clark

Franck Massard, Licis, Mencía 2011, Ribeira Sacra, Galicia, Spain

Silver medal winner

‘Farmyardy nose, but generous and spicy in style, with fleshy black fruits, minerality and notes of white pepper on the finish. Get me a bottle of that!’ said an enthused Caroline Brangé of 28°-50° Mayfair.

£14.65 Enotria&Coe

A Coroa, Godello 2013, Valdeorras, Spain

Silver medal winner

Riccardo Guzzardo of The Gilbert Scott found a ‘citrusy mid-palate with good structure’, while The Tate Group's Hamish Anderson said: 'A savoury, bright palate, taut and young, this is a great food wine', and Michael Moore of Room 24 noted: ‘Notes of asparagus, good with crispy grilled squid or octopus.'

£11.42 Bibendum

Algueira, Pizarra 2012, Ribeira Sacra, Galicia, Spain

Silver medal winner

‘Big and rustic with earthy, vegetal aromas, spice and oak on the palate, packed with juicy fruit and racy acidity on the finish,’ said Neil Bruce of Studio Alto, with team leader Martin Lam adding: ‘Substantial wine, with red plum aromas, rounded and ripe with warm spices.’

£26.06 Bibendum

Somoza, Neno de Viña Somoza, Godello 2013, Valdeorras, Spain

Bronze medal winner

‘Warm, baked lemon and spice aromas with notes of honey and salted caramel; dry and oily on the palate, good juicy and moreish, mineral style and a really great food wine,’ said team leader Jade Koch.

£9.95 Matthew Clark

Marqués de Vargas, Pazo San Mauro, Albariño 2014, Rías Baixas, Spain

Bronze medal winner

‘Flowery, intense nose, typically Albariño; ripe and fleshy style on the palate with salty mineral notes and a peppery hint,’ said consultant sommelier Christophe Richelet, with team leader Martin Lam highlighting its ‘sea shells, aromatic and floral notes with green apple palate’.

£7.63 Majestic Commercial

Valmiñor, Albariño 2014, Rías Baixas, Spain

Bronze medal winner

‘Nice floral, lime flower notes on the nose, with a salty edge, very typical lime zest and flowery palate, aromatic with good acidity and balance,’ said team leader Martin Lam, while Caroline Brangé of 28°-50° Mayfair found: ‘Expressive, peach and grapefruit aromas with a grassy, salty palate.’

£11.22 Enotria&Coe

Hacienda Zorita, Natural Reserve, Syrah 2011, Castilla y León, Spain

Commended medal winner

Pazo das Tapias, Alma de Blanco, Godello 2013, Monterrei, Galicia, Spain

Commended medal winner

£7.98 Enotria&Coe

Pazo das Tapias, Alma de Tinto, Mencía 2013, Monterrei, Galicia, Spain

Commended medal winner

£7.98 Enotria&Coe

Martín Códax, Albariño 2013, Rías Baixas, Spain

Commended medal winner

£9.30 Liberty Wines


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