What's the Deal?
In several decades of drinking wine with focussed abandon I don't recall ever having a bottle of Albariño that I didn't enjoy. A lot. The thick-skinned grape of Spain's Galicia region came on the wine radar here starting in the late 1980s, as wine from Rias Baxias region began to become the darlings of in-the-know sommeliers, and it's never really lost its lustre as a wine for people who care about wine. Now there are some provisos to that statement. For starters, the sample size is somewhat small given that years-long issue with us not getting enough of this beautifully salty, minerally wonder of a white wine in Western Canada. The BCLDB has been brutal on this — for years they had no Albariños to buy and even now there's only two (this is one of them and the other is available in all of 2 stores). And Alberta is better, but not by much given that the wine is a staple of a great wine list the world over (the flip side is that if you see a large wine list that doesn't have one, that's a problem). The other proviso is that it's never been a cheap wine—$25 dollars is the usual starting point with the average price in the $30-plus, so it should be good. But I've had plenty of bottles of White Burgundy that were utter disappointments at a significantly higher tariff.
What's in the Bottle?
At $24, this is the lowest priced Albariño I can remember in the BCLDB in years. It's from Rias Biaxas and I think you can call it textbook Albariño: it's quite ripe with pronounced nectarine notes, but there's a quick follow-up of juicy citrus and minerality to keep it from being flabby. And again, a nice theme of salinity that is lip smacking and underscores why somms love to pair this wine with food so much. It's relatively low in alcohol, which is good because this is the type of wine that it's very easy to drink the entire bottle of.
Should I Buy?
Sort of a no-brainer. If you're not familiar with Albariño, that's a serious blind spot in your wine education and you can shore it up for under $25. If you already love the grape, then you get to save $5+ over what we'd normally have to pay for it over here, so yes to that. The only downside—the squiggly thing over the "n" when your email your friends how good these wines are.