Made from 100% Albarino grapes tended in granite soil. The vineyards are located next to the Miño river in Galicia (Northwestern Spain) within the Condado de Tea subzone of Rías Baixas. Out of the 5 Subzones of Rías Baixas, Condado de Tea is the most southern subzone and furthest from the Atlantic Ocean. Northwestern Spain is known for making the best white wines in the Iberian Peninsula. Out of the 200+ indigenous grapes found in this area, Albariño is the queen. She sustains the farmers of the region. Columna is a very unique expression of this queenly grape due to its southern and interior location. This results in a style that is bright, floral, mineral and at the same time rich. The vineyards that produce this outstanding expression of Albariño are tended in the local and popular Emparrado trellis system, which was invented by the Romans during the 2nd century to maximize air circulation allowing for a better, drier ripening season. The winemaker Rodri Mendez is no less than Raul Perez's disciple and right hand man. In fact, Columna is vinified in the same winery where Sketch (the under the water wine) is produced. The goal in producing Columna is to showcase the purity of the Albariño grape in a 100% unoaked style from a unique micro-climate that produces richer, fuller, and often more balanced Albariño wines.
WHAT MAKES THIS WINE UNIQUE? Albariño wines this good at this price point do not exist. Columna is a superb wine made from estate owned grapes in the most southern and inland subzone of Rías Baixas (Condado de Tea). Vines are tended in Granite and Slate soil, imparting lots of minerality. Winemaker Rodri Mendez, disciple and right hand man of Raul Perez, vinifies Columna in the same winery where Sketch (the under the water wine) is vinified.
RATING HISTORY: 2015 90VM; 2014 90VN; 2013 89IWC; 2012 90IWC; 2011 91RP
GRAPE: 100% Albarino. Sustainably grown vines planted in 1978. Tended on the classic Pergola system in granite and slate soil at 40 m (131 ft) elevation
PAIRING SUGGESTIONS: Albariño's crisp clean flavors are extremely versatile. Seafood, clams, oysters are what the local Galician people eat with this queenly grape. It also pairs like magic with Sushi, Indian, or Thai. Other pairings that are successful include hard-to-pair, popular take-out meals like cold sesame noodles, chicken tikka masala, pad thai, and tacos.
VINIFICATION AND AGEING: Fermentation occurs naturally utilizing indigenous yeasts that live on the skin of the grapes. Before fermentation the grapes macerate at cool temperature (39F) for 1/2 days. The wine is aged in stainless steel tanks.
PRODUCTION: 1,300 cases
LOCATION, SOIL, CLIMATE: Rías Baixas / Subzone of Condado de Tea (Zone # 1) towards the west, extends westwards from Tui along the Miño valley up to the neighbouring Riberiro DO. The landscape is more abrupt and consists of several small river valleys. The soils are granite and slate based.
TASTING NOTES: Brilliant yellow. Lively aromas of quince, lemon zest and jasmine pick up a strong mineral element with air. Dry, sharply focused and nervy on the palate, offering densely packed, refreshingly bitter citrus pith, pear skin and honeysuckle flavors that show excellent clarity. Closes taut and stony, displaying tight grip, a hint of honeysuckle and lingering florality.-- Josh Raynolds.
All photos: Friederike Paetzold