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Home Winners > Winners 2017 > SPAIN: North-West, including Albariño

Winner Details

Spain: North-West, including Albariño 

2017 Gold: 8 Silver: 5 Bronze: 4 Commended: 16
2016 Gold: 4 Silver: 4 Bronze: 3 Commended: 7

North-west Spain was one of the most successful regions in the whole of this year’s competition. Eight Golds (plus 25 further awards) was an astonishing performance for a place that has never had more than 20 winners before.

Moreover, we had a lovely balance, too. There was a spread of Albariños (both in price and style, including, incredibly, a six-year-old ‘vintage’ wine), a couple of Godellos and two sappy, crunchy reds.

With all but one of our medal winners priced from £7-£13, this was a well-priced selection, too.

It’s all good news, since our tasters were unanimous in recognising that Albariño, in particular, is very much on the radar of the British drinking public. Being able to list good examples under £40 – backed up by other Galician wines – is a strong proposition.

FROM THE TASTING TEAMS

‘This [white] flight saw the most difference across the board – everyone had different preferences. Spanish whites in the mid-range provide a lot of value. And that’s what we found today – real concentration around the £8/£9/£10 mark that provided great flavour and great balance.’ James Fryer, Portland Restaurant

‘In the last few years price has been going up for Albariño – though quality has been going up, too. With Albariño I want a refreshing wine, nothing too extracted or creamy.’ Lionel Periner, team leader

‘Albariño has exotic fruit so it appeals to a first-time drinker, but it also has a distinctive mineral character and it’s very food-friendly.’ Laurent Richet MS, team leader

‘People aren’t over Albariño yet, so now’s a good time to explore. Prices are right.’ Sara Bachiorri, Chez Bruce

‘Some really nice differences in style in this [red] flight, from lean, zingy, raspberry-fruit wines, to others that worked well with oak. It seems the cooler part of Spain is finding the confidence to make some really great wines.’ Tom Forrest, team leader

‘In the reds, the entry level wasn’t particularly good value for money, but the £10-£14 wines were good.’ Tanya Mann, Linden House Stansted
‘The [non-Albariño] whites were average. A solid flight but pretty unexciting.’ Olivier Marie, team leader

Award winners

Found 33 wines

Spain: North West, including Albarino

Quinta del Obispo, Mencía, Bierzo 2015, Castilla y León, Spain

Gold medal winner

A classic example, according to our judges, and deserving of a Gold medal. ‘Moderately intense on the nose, with black fruits of prune and blackcurrant,’ began Chantal Serrano of Tamarind of Mayfair, continuing: ‘Dry on the palate, with fresh cherry and berry fruit and a light floral note.’ ‘Leafy tobacco and jammy character, good balanced acidity, good, easy, rounded wine would go well in a pub,’ added Tanya Mann of Linden House Stansted. Team leader Sarah Jane Evans MW described ‘a meaty aroma, with tar, leading to punchy acid and rustic tannin – a powerful, individual wine. Serve chilled with Morcilla de Burgos.’

£7.08 Davy's Wine Merchants

Paco & Lola, Albariño 2016, Rías Baixas, Spain

Gold medal winner

The first of a pair of Albariño Golds for Paco & Lola, this was described by team leader Lionel Periner as a ‘top-class’ example, which showed ‘complex lime citrus, green tea and almond on the nose, then nicely balanced acidity on a creamy, mineral palate with a dry, fresh and elegant finish’. ‘Typical Albariño, with good texture, and a lingering finish. A very enjoyable glass of wine,’ summarised Chez Bruce’s Sara Bachiorri. ‘In need of a seafood platter,’ added team leader Laurent Richet MS.

£12.62 Matthew Clark

Paco & Lola, Vintage Albariño 2010, Rías Baixas, Spain

Gold medal winner

Another Gold for Paco & Lola, this time with an unusual offering that intrigued our judges. ‘Full of apricots on the nose, as well as a floral note, and a touch of honey,’ said Lukasz Walkowiak of Oxo Tower Restaurant of this ‘full-bodied wine with persistent finish’. Chez Bruce’s Sara Bachiorri added: ‘A ripe style, with candied ginger, and oak giving it some creaminess. Not for everyone’s wine list, but would be fun to work with – a good wine to match with pork stew, or liver dishes.’

£18.54 Matthew Clark

Castro Martin, A2O, Albariño 2015, Rías Baixas, Spain

Gold medal winner

The judges were enamoured with this wine’s fresh, sprightly style, awarding it Gold. ‘A little higher residual sugar here, and it’s brighter for it,’ began team leader Jade Koch, adding: ‘Acidity is quite perky, and there’s a nice spritz on the finish.’ Chez Bruce’s Sara Bachiorri was reminded of ‘the sea shore – mineral and fresh – but the palate shows honey notes, along with lemon peel. Rich yet fresh, and long-lasting. This could be served with seafood risotto.’

£10.77 Bibendum

Losada, Godello, Bierzo 2015, Castilla y León, Spain

Gold medal winner

Timothy Connor of Bread Street Kitchen liked this Gold-winning Godello’s ‘fresh lemon and jasmine, well-rounded character’, while Portland Restaurant’s James Fryer highlighted ‘smoke and hazelnuts, under-ripe guava aromas with flavours of almond milk, peach skin and baking spices’. For Chez Bruce’s Sarah Bachiorri, this was reminiscent of ‘a baked apple pie, with a salty finish – nice texture and richness’.

£12.99 Matthew Clark

Losada, Crianza, Bierzo 2011, Castilla y León, Spain

Gold medal winner

A red Gold to complement Losada’s equivalent white win, this was ‘revealing a bit of age, with tobacco leaf, mushroom and mature leather notes on the nose, perfect for a steak house’, began The Sign of the Don’s Carlos Ferreira, with Robert Mason of Cheese at Leadenhall finding: ‘Lots of sweet spices, earthy cigar box and pipe tobacco notes, a meaty nose then lots of brooding, dark fruits with ripe, grippy tannins on a balanced, complex palate.’ A match for ox cheek, thought team leader Sarah Jane Evans MW.

£10.98 Matthew Clark

Zárate, Albariño 2015, Rías Baixas, Spain

Gold medal winner

A clear candidate for Gold, this accessible Albariño was ‘very appealing, with soft fruit and great minerality on the palate, with gentle acidity, too,’ said team leader Jade Koch, with Gabriel Liotta of Hakkasan Hanway Place finding it ‘ripe, fruity and very approachable, with a little sweetness on the aftertaste’. ‘Precise and mineral, with a salty, sea breeze note, making this a good match for stone crab and pickles,’ suggested team leader Laurent Richet MS.

£8.87 Indigo Wine

Valmiñor, Minius, Godello, Monterrei 2015, Galicia, Spain

Gold medal winner

This Gold Lister had an attractive savoury, mineral character to accompany its generous fruit, impressing our judges. James Fryer of Portland Restaurant found an array of flavours: ‘Almond skin, smoke and white peach on the nose, apricot and almond beurre on the palate with pear and apricot stone fruit, clove and cinnamon spice.’ For team leader Laurent Richet MS, it showed ‘tangerine, cream soda and crushed stones – this needs a plate of oysters’.

£9.43 Berkmann Wine Cellars

Pagos del Rey, Pulpo, Albariño 2016, Rías Baixas, Spain

Silver medal winner

Gaetano Giangaspero of Coya Mayfair found ‘floral aromas and stone fruit on the nose with a clean and fruit-focused palate, elegant mineral touches and a persistent finish’. Lukasz Walkowiak of Oxo Tower Restaurant, meanwhile, spoke of ‘ripe peaches and fresh acidity, and a very persistent finish’.

£9.62 Matthew Clark

Martín Códax, Lías, Albariño 2014, Rías Baixas, Spain

Silver medal winner

For Yohann Pinol of Wiltons this had ‘interesting aromas of citrus and fresh almond, complex flavours on the palate with good balance and a long finish’, while team leader Jade Koch found ‘a richer aromatic style with more weight, honeyed and juicy in style’.

£12.29 Liberty Wines

Martín Códax, Cuatro Pasos, Mencía, Bierzo 2015, Castilla y León, Spain

Silver medal winner

‘Developed and toasty nose, with hints of cedar, bramble and chocolate,’ began Robert Mason of Cheese at Leadenhall, who found ‘the palate is lighter than the nose promises, savoury style with red fruit and prominent tannin’.

£7.88 Liberty Wines

A Coroa, Godello 2015, Galicia, Spain

Silver medal winner

‘Good nose, balanced and rounded with buttery malo flavours on the palate,’ began Ivan Ruiz of Wright Brothers, with Portland Restaurant’s James Fryer finding ‘smoky peaches and a palate led by nuttiness and oxidised peach flavours, saline notes and a little greenness’.

£11.46 Bibendum

Valmiñor, Serra da Estrela, Albariño 2015, Rías Baixas, Spain

Silver medal winner

A wine with floral aromas and notes of apricot on the nose, our judges highlighted its dry, fruity mid-palate with light hints of sweet spices, followed by a hint of sweetness on a green, fresh finish. ‘Quite exotic,’ thought team leader Laurent Richet MS, adding: ‘Peach and apricot aromas, with a peppery edge, leading to a refreshing, full-flavoured palate.’

£8.33 Berkmann Wine Cellars

Godelia, White, Bierzo 2015, Castilla y León, Spain

Bronze medal winner

This was ‘crispy and dry with long acidity’, began Ivan Ruiz of Wright Brothers, adding: ‘Steely, refreshing and young with lemony citric fruit.’ James Fryer of Portland Restaurant found ‘peanut oil aromas, leafy lemon and grapefruit pith on a straightforward palate’.

£8.46 Moreno Wines

Godelia, Red, Bierzo 2012, Castilla y León, Spain

Bronze medal winner

Team leader Tom Forrest noted its ‘bright purple colour, ripe red fruit with some cinnamon spice on the nose’, followed by a palate of ‘red fruit ripeness with soft tannins, some cedar oak spice and notes of ginger and peppercorns’.

£10.26 Moreno Wines

Martín Códax, Cuatro Pasos, Black, Mencía, Bierzo 2014, Castilla y León, Spain

Bronze medal winner

‘Young, fresh, blackberry fruit on the nose,’ began Tanya Mann of Linden House Stansted, who enjoyed its ‘very elegant style, many layers and Mediterranean herbal character making it a very gastronomic wine, with good length and autumnal forest flavours’.

£10.80 Liberty Wines

Ailalá, Treixadura, Ribeiro 2015, Galicia, Spain

Bronze medal winner

Team leader Olivier Marie found this a ‘lovely wine, with an amazing salinity and nautical finish, sea spray and oyster shells’, while Portland Restaurant’s James Fryer noted ‘green pear, a bit earthy on the nose, pithy grapefruit and mandarin on the palate with slight rose and dried tropical touches’.

£9.63 Enotria&Coe

Pombal a Lanzada, Arcan, Albariño 2014, Rías Baixas , Spain

Commended medal winner

Parente García, Quinta do Avelino, Treixadura, Ribeiro 2015, Galicia, Spain

Commended medal winner

La Val, Finca de Arantei, Albariño 2015, Rías Baixas , Spain

Commended medal winner

£9.30 Boutinot

Gancedo, Capricho, Val de Paxariñas, Godello, Bierzo 2016, Castilla y León, Spain

Commended medal winner

£10.13 Boutinot

Veiga Naúm, Albariño 2016, Rías Baixas, Spain

Commended medal winner

£9.80 EWGA

Martín Códax, Albariño 2016, Rías Baixas, Spain

Commended medal winner

£10.60 Liberty Wines

Martín Códax, Mara Martín, Godello, Monterrei 2016, Galicia, Spain

Commended medal winner

£8.10 Liberty Wines

Madai, Origen, Mencía, Bierzo 2015, Castilla y León, Spain

Commended medal winner

£8.43 Boutinot

Pazos del Rey, Pazo de Monterrey, Mencía, Monterrei 2015, Galicia, Spain

Commended medal winner

£7.88 Boutinot

Algueira, Pizarra, Ribeira Sacra 2013, Galicia , Spain

Commended medal winner

£28.60 Bibendum

Castro Martin, Family Estate, Albariño 2015, Rías Baixas, Spain

Commended medal winner

£11.67 Bibendum

Casa Rojo, The Orange Republic, Godello, Valdeorras 2015, Galicia , Spain

Commended medal winner

£16.00 Matthew Clark

Casa Rojo, La Marimorena, Albariño 2015, Rías Baixas, Spain

Commended medal winner

£12.18 Matthew Clark

Coto de Gomariz, Blanco, Ribeiro 2015, Galicia, Spain

Commended medal winner

£10.95 Indigo Wine

Ailalá, Souson, Ribeiros do Avia, Ribeiro 2015, Galicia, Spain

Commended medal winner

£10.51 Enotria&Coe

Docampo, Señorío da Vila, Godello, Ribeiro 2015, Galicia, Spain

Commended medal winner

 

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