Wine Review: Albariño 2013, Bodega Garzón, Garzón, Uruguay
This is a polite reminder to take two bags next time you travel to Uruguay: one for the dollars and the other for some Albariño.
I’ve been obsessed with the River Plate/Atlantic Oecean version of this Galician white grape (and Pourtguese, known as albarinho) since January 2014, even though I drank the wrong one. In fact, it’s been a whole series of missed connections with regard to this particular wine.
In La Barra last summer, G ordered the Bodega Bouza Albariño 2013 at the fish joint. He’d heard good things on the “grapevine” (first but possibly not last time for that gag) also known as Argentine sommelier Ro Calderón and was keen to try it. A 2012 turned up. And no one was amused. But we drank it anyway.
We vowed to try and get our hands on a 2013. It proved near impossible, turning this fruity and fragrant white into a mythical bottle.
After tracking it down, I saved it up before releasing the beast at Sideways Sunday, just when spring was getting flirty in September. It was epic in the beginning and we raved about it, though I remember few details. This was Sideways Sunday, after all.
Back in Uruguay this week, I therefore had a dream. A dream to sup that Uruguayan Albariño seated in the warm sands of Punta del Diablo.
A country slightly smaller than Cambodia but fractionally larger than Suriname but definitely smaller than the UK, Uruguay has recently been in the spotlight for its president putting the hip into hippy (Mujica), for being the Nuevo Amsterdam (that marijuana bill hasn’t *quite* become law yet) and its vampire football player (hola Suárez).
Also known as Argentina’s playground (to the Argentines), this country sporting a tiny population (3.4m) and a tiny amount of vineyards (around 7,400 hectares planted, hell, my daddy’s lawn is bigger than that) – is better known for Tannat.
I don’t tend to dig the Tannat – I find its harsh tannins outweigh anything else going on. So when I discovered this sexy WHITE from URUGUAY, I was thrilled.
In Montevideo on Monday night, I found the nearest licorería and spotted that Bouza (pronounced bough-sir but I like to say boozer) on the top shelf. A bit like porn, well out of reach. Goddamit, it was the bloody 2012 again. So I settled for the only other one going: the Garzón 2013.
The beach is just metres away from me as I type but like most dreams, it came to an end when I woke up and realised grains of sand wouldn’t cut it in my vino blanco.
So it’s in a 12-bed dorm in a Punta del Diablo hostel that I am slowly yet surely working my way through the wrong wine. Again.
It’s peachy, floral yet musky in the nose and slightly buttery with medium acidity and volume, presenting stewed peaches and almond in the mouth, again with a little butter, and a slightly citrus, grapefruit, finish. It’s seductive all right, but not packing the whole fresh punch I yearned for, that I remember, even though Garzón – part of the Tomero and Vistalba group of wineries – is a stone’s throw from Punta del Este and that Atlantic freshness should be at the very heart of this wine. I mean, it’s fresh but it ain’t that fresh.
And all I can think of is the need for scallops, pan-fried gently in butter, to go with this. Now. Instead of this tuna sandwich. (Hostel life…)
Got no dollars and not heading to Uruguay any time soon? Check out Las Perdices‘ very own Albariño from Mendoza (though it’s not listed on their site), which tips in above the Garzón but below the Bouza.
And should you find a case of the Bouza Albariño 2013 or 2014, bring it to me at once.
UR$360 or around US$15. I’m way confused by the exchange rate, going from Argie pesos to dollars to Uru pesos but I think it’s punching a bit above its weight, price wise.
Have you read last week’s piece on Argentina’s Gewürztraminer ?