There are any number of colloquial phrases – in English and other languages – along the lines of “all mouth and no trousers” which refer to a lack of delivery on something promised.
This O Rosal Spanish white wine wasn’t quite lacking, but it didn’t quite live up to the expectation I had for it as the third and final white in a good run of Spanish whites from the Terras Gauda bodega in northwestern Spain.
And the “mouth” I’m referring to, confusingly, is actually the “nose”; this wine had one of the most intriguing aromas of any white I’ve recently sampled, with subtle layers of apple skin, custard, sherbet and either soda or tonic water – I forget which is which.
Its limey green hue had a silvery shimmer that was a little less full on in colour than the other Spanish whites I’ve recently sampled, and this delicateness of touch was more akin to the flavor than that powerful olfactory experience. What it impressed on my tongue was little more than a light and crisp acidic winey flavour – not unlike a good Sauvignon Blanc, but also not quite like a wonderful one.
Having recently had a few great Sancerre wines I have it ingrained in recent memory just how great these lit acidic whites can be, and while by no means a bad wine, the third and final Terras Gauda offering – the one that bears the bodega’s name, no less – has to be my least favourite of the three.
Perhaps it’s simply that I favour complexity and, more often than not, strength in my white wines. I realize that’s a big ask from a lot of grapes, and not knowing a lot about the grapes of Spain I’m never sure when to expect it. But being crisp and dry simply isn’t very exciting. Sure, this wine will serve well with any number of white meat, pasta or unobtrusive fish dishes, but it’s nothing to write home about and quite unlikely to make a dent in a market currently dominated by similarly light and similarly acidic – but often cheaper – Italian and New World Pinot Grigio, or French and New World Sauvignon Blanc.
Any unfamiliar grapes will have to have real individuality to break through the established wall of adequate mass-market white wines, and I can’t really see northwest Spain doing it with wines like this particular Albariño. The ore two, on the other hand, seemed to excite my senses a little more.
Maybe I opened this bottle under the wrong moon?