Refreshingly familiar yet eclectically left-of-center, drinking well-made Albariño wine is like listening to seriously catchy alt-pop tunes from CHVRCHES, Tegan and Sara, and HAIM.
Tangent, a label of Niven Family Wine Estates out of the Edna Valley region in California’s San Luis Obispo County, has played a big part in bringing Albariño to a modest level of popularity outside of Spain. While that popularity has probably peaked for now—this wine was introduced to the American market almost 15 years ago, one heck of a pioneering move—that’s no reason to forget about it.
With far more flair and personality than most Chardonnays and Sauvignon Blancs—Albariño’s profile lies somewhere in-between those two—the 2015 TANGENT Albariño is crisp charm with strong persistence of character. On the nose is mango, lemon and citrus blossom. The wine hits the palate with high acidity and minerality, grounded by juiciness of yellow peach with notes of green papaya and green apple, finishing with a hint of bitterness of white grapefruit.
A bold, vivacious white that’s scintillatingly refreshing, this is a classic for being something different that’s actually crowd-pleasing. –J.M.
Our 2014 Vintage Review:[dropcap size=dropcap]W[/dropcap]hen Chardonnay seems too heavy, or Sauvignon Blanc too light, or Riesling too sweet—there’s Albarino. What, pray tell, is Albarino? It’s a Spanish grape that makes for an absolutely delectable white wine—not too heavy, not too light, not too sweet. At its best, Albarino is charming and vibrant with sex appeal, a handsome devil with angular chin and high cheekbones. More mysterious than Channing Tatum but less boyish than Leonardo DiCaprio. The 2014 Tangent Albarino, at $15 and made in the Central Coast, USA, succeeds at pulling off the most important qualities of Albarino. Ripe white peach and pear and apricot marmalade notes wash over the palate while cool acidity of citrus refreshes and enlivens the senses. The sunny purity of fruit is pure California, but the wine makes a nod to its ethnicity with plenty of Spanish attitude and animal spirits. Summer is coming. It’s time to bring sexy back. 90 pts