Noelia de Paz spent the beginning of the century carousing amongst the family vineyards that her brothers planted in 1999, though her hometown region, DO Tierra de León, didn’t achieve DO status until 2007. It was there, during this time working in her family’s winery Bodegas Tampesta, that Noelia’s love and dedication for León’s native grape varieties, Albarín and Prieto Picudo, really flourished. She has since fallen hard and isn’t looking back on her quest to become the Queen of Albarín.
Realizing the scarcity of many profound or dynamic expressions of these unique varietals in the market, the very ambitious Noelia de Paz is finally realizing her independent LaOsa mission to work closely with the local farmers to produce small production wines from her native DO Tierra de León. Today, Noelia, who refers to herself as LaOsa (the bear) carefully elaborates some of Spain’s mostly harshly ignored varietals, Prieto Picudo (Tinto) and Albarín (Blanco), in the Municipal of Valdemimbre in the southwest of León, within the Province of Castilla y León.
Noelia has also spent many years collaborating with friends and mentors throughout her travels to produce various vinous gems from the vineyards of neighbors in DO’s in Bierzo and Rías Baixas.
Noelia preserves the authenticity of the land by respecting the work and the experience of the landowners from the generations proceeding her by sourcing fruit from farmers who use traditional vineyard practices and avoid mechanical intervention as much as possible. She then applies her prowess in the winery to reach full grape expression while maintaining the acidity, oak and alcohol in balance, something not often achieved in León. Her dynamic presence is felt with every sip.
The grapes are grown in clay soil with river stones at 750m altitude. Leon has a continential climate with long, cold winters and hot summer days and cold nights.
25 year-old vines, dry farmed vineyards, non-certified organic. Tierra de Leon is one of the windiest growing regions in Spain, and that affects the grapes through the development of thick skins and tannin. Alluvial clay soils allow for good water retention, although the region sees very little rain < 20 inch/year. Poor nutrient profile in the soil means little green harvesting is needed to naturally achieve 2-3 tons per acre. This is a region to watch.
Hand harvest at the end of September, destemmed before being pressed off for temperature controlled native fermentation in stainless steel. Post fermentation, the wine rests on the fine lees for 5 months in old French barrels of 500L. The Albarín is then filtered and bottled.
Extremely aromatic with feminine floral and citrus notes. The wine is weighty in the mouth with excellent structure and body with a fresh, citrus acidity.
ABV = 13.5%.
Left Field wines are the birthplace of the unexpected, the weird and the wonderful. They take a whimsical approach to exploration, creativity and imagination.
The winery is situated in the sacred Gimblett Gravels, a gift left behind from the trails of the old Ngaruroro River which meandered through the region until a huge flood changed its course in 1867.
Under the watchful eye of winemaker, Richard Painter, a sense of exploration runs deep at Left Field, just like the ancient Ngaruroro River winding its way through the Gimblett Gravels, always seeking a different path. When it comes to winemaking, curiosity reigns and rules are made to be broken, weaving together a rich tapestry to bring forth Left Field wines.
Albariño ripens well in the warmth and sunshine of the Gisborne region of New Zealand's North Island. Grapes are hand-harvested from the Brian Tietjin and Bushmere vineyards and whole-bunch pressed prior to a fermentation, 90% as clear juice in stainless steel and 10% with indigenous yeast in seasoned oak puncheons.
The nose shows aromas of citrus flowers, melon and peach; the palate shows some richness and weight (= that 10% oak/wild yeast at work) and is backed by stone fruit and lime on the finish.
The makers (unsurprisingly) say: "Gorgeous little citrus flowers link arms with melon and peach to dance in the sunshine, always maintaining an air of class. Meanwhile, lime lingers in the shadows vying for attention".
ABV = 13.0%.
Martín Códax was founded in 1986 by a group of winemakers led by 9th generation winemaker Luciano Amodeo. Today it comprises around 2,400 tiny vineyard parcels managed by 550 families in Rías Baixas. It has become the largest producer in Galicia with 450 hectares of vineyard planted with Albariño, representing 13% of the total Rías Baixas DO. The co-operative was instrumental in the creation of the Rías Baixas DO in 1988 (the statutes were signed at the winery) and has championed and conducted extensive research into the Albariño variety. Named after the medieval Galician poet and musician Martín Códax, the winery has strong links to local art and music.
The vineyards are primarily in the Salnés Valley, an average of five kilometres from the sea, ensuring the warm days are moderated by cool nights. The warm temperatures give ripeness and full citrus and apricot fruit, while the colder temperatures at night ensure fresh, pure Albariño aromatics. The soils are granitic and the vines are trained on a traditional horizontal trellis system known as 'Emparrado' which is similar to pergola.
The 2018 vintage in Rías Baixas was very good. The rain in May was balanced by the dry weather conditions, high temperatures and sunshine in August and September which allowed the veraison phase to develop properly. The grapes were harvested in great conditions in September.
The wine was fermented in temperature controlled stainless steel vats at 16-18ºC and underwent partial malolactic fermentation. It was then rested for four months on its fine lees which gave a smooth, almost creamy texture to the wine.
This wine is pale lemon in colour. The nose is full of ripe fruity notes married with floral aromas: apricot, citrus, tropical fruit, jasmine and orange blossom. The palate is refreshing and zesty with great flavour intensity which persists on the long finish.
ABV = 13.0%.