Wine Rating: As Sortes 2005

by mary on December 9, 2007

As Sortes Valdeorras wine One at the best whites in Spain at an amazing price…see my previous article on the changing face of Spanish white wine. 

Wine:  As Sortes
Winery:  Rafael Palacios S.L.
Vintage: 2005
Denominacion de Origen (DO): Valdeorras
Alc: 14% (!)
Grape variety: 100% Godello
Additional factoids:  40-60 year old vines, vines all over 600 meters, micro-oxygenation techniques used
Oak regime:  fermentation and aging in large oak foudres, aged 6-8 months over lees
Price:  20-25 euros in Spain

Tasting notes
Visual:  Youthful pale golden color
Nose:  First whiff is mineral, slate and stone.  Next is smoky oak and yeasty lees…and finally with some air the fruit comes in: some fresh pineapple, peach and yellow grapefruit.   It’s like peeling layers…very complex nose that is quite closed at first and continues to open for hours. 
Mouth:  The most impressive thing is the rich, full body…truly mouth-filling…this wine sits on your palate physically for a long while before moving on.  A little closed and austere at first…the aromatics and fruit come out with aeration.  Fresh and mineral, but the full body gives it richness as well.  Long glycerine finish with some nice oak tannins….fruit and acids return to freshen it up.  The alcohol, though high, is perfectly integrated.  Enormously complex. 
Food:  Texturally, this is a big white and would be best with something that has some body and freshness…meatier white fish would be great, such as swordfish or monkfish.  Also would be great with heavier preparation of shellfish, such as clams “a la plancha” with garlic and olive oil. 

Conclusion:  One of the top whites in Spain…even more so for the reasonable price.  This is quite a difficult white and in many ways is more reminiscent of Austrian whites than Spanish ones.  It is eons away from the easy-drinking pleasurable whites that are typically Spanish.   This is the new face of Spanish whites and it shows the enormous, yet largely un-exploited potential for white wines here

It will improve greatly over a few years and if you must drink it young, decant it generously.  The wine kept getting better for hours!  Also, don’t serve it too cold…12ºC or 53ºF would be great.

I will do an update when I taste the 2006 As Sortes, pictured above.

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