A Tale of Two Rias Baixas Albarinos #WorldWineTravel

World Wine Travel Group Virtually Visits Galicia
This month, our group is exploring the Galicia region in the northwest corner of Spain. It’s different from most of the rest of Spain, as it sits right on the Atlantic coast, so the climate is heavily influenced by the ocean. In fact, with all that moderate air and moisture, Galicia and its neighbors on the Bay of Biscay are nicknamed “Green Spain”. Many in our group were invited by Rias Baixas Wines to participate in a virtual press trip, almost as good as going in person!

Albariño is Rias Baixas
Albariño is the predominant grape making up the refreshing dry white wine which is the principal wine from the Rias Baixas region. We sampled three Albariños in our virtual press trip, and I feature two of them in our dinner of clams a la plancha below.

Disclosure: The wines for this post were provided as samples by Rias Baixas Wines. No other compensation was involved, all opinions expressed are mine.

Martin Codax Albariño is bright, refreshing and widely available in the US

Martin Codax Albariño, Rias Baixas D.O. 2019 ( sample $15 SRP, online here) 12.5% abv
Eye: pale lemon
Nose: Medium intensity aromas of white blossom, lemon peel, just ripe pears, seashells, salt air
Mouth: Dry, high acidity, medium minus body with a lean texture, medium alcohol, medium intensity flavors, medium plus finish with a touch of bitterness. Flavors of white blossom, lemon peel, just ripe pears, seashells, salt air.
Observations: Very refreshing and lively with a tart, lip-smacking high acidity. You can imagine you’re enjoying this at the beach with that touch of salt air.

Fillaboa Albariño is aged on its lees for several months, keeping the refreshing flavor but adding a touch of creaminess.

Fillaboa Rias Albariño, Rias Baixas D.O. 2020 ( sample $16 SRP online here) 13% abv
Eye: Pale lemon
Nose: Medium plus aromas of chamomile, lemon, lemon curd, ripe pears, brie cheese, hay, wet gravel.
Mouth: Dry, high acidity, medium body with a soft texture, medium alcohol, medium plus intensity, medium plus finish. Flavors of chamomile, lemon, lemon curd, ripe pears, brie cheese, hay, wet gravel.
Observations: Refreshing high acidity is buffered just a bit by a softer texture due to the wine having been aged on the lees for several months.

You can simply steam the clams, but the plancha is so dramatic!

Clams a la Plancha and Albariño
Steamed clams with fresh herbs served with a salad is just about a perfect dish for Albariño. Close your eyes and you might be transported from Minnesota to the sunny coast of Spain.

Galicia Posts from Fellow World Wine Travelers
Take a look at all the great insights into Rias Baixas and Galicia from my fellow bloggers. Why not join our chat on Twitter on Saturday April 24 from 10-11 am CDT on Twitter? Find us by searching for the #WorldWineTravel tag!

Little Neck Clams a la Plancha


Based on a recipe from Francis Mallmann’s 7 Fires cookbook

Ingredients

  • 2.5 lbs little neck clams, scrubbed and debearded
  • extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)
  • 8 oz. white wine
  • 1 bunch Italian flat leaf parsley, chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • Other aromatics/flavors of your choice: cherry tomatoes, fresh herbs such as basil, thyme

Directions

  1. Preheat the cast iron plancha or two skillets on the grill at medium-high temperature. I use 450 deg. F dome temperature in my ceramic grill.
  2. Squirt a bit of EVOO on the griddle just prior to pouring the clams onto the plancha
  3. Pour the clams on the plancha and cover
  4. When the clams start to open (2-3 minutes depending on their size), pour the herb/garlic mixture onto the clams
  5. When most of the clams have opened, around 8 minutes (again, depending on size) pour the wine over the clams and herbs and cover
  6. After the wine has evaporated, scoop all the clams and herb mixture off the grill and serve immediately

Comments
28 Responses to “A Tale of Two Rias Baixas Albarinos #WorldWineTravel”
  1. advinetures says:

    We were truly disappointed to miss the virtual tasting. We’ve become such fans of Albarino from Rias Baixas and imagine those clams were the perfect pairing!

  2. Those virtual kits are so fantastic!!! The wines both sound gorgeous but your description of the Martin Codax Albariño really got me. That is my kind of wine.

    • Thanks Andrea. I was so surprised with the box as well, they really put us in the mood of a real visit. You’re right, sometimes the easy, fresh wine is just perfect and Martin Codax does that well.

  3. culinarycam says:

    What a fun virtual trip to Spain. I was sad to miss it live with you all, but grateful for the playback. Now you have me longing for plancha’d clams…for breakfast. Is that wrong?

  4. steveofthegrape says:

    I wish I would have had those clams for my tasting!

  5. wendyklik says:

    That is the absolutely perfect pairing Jeff. I am drooling here.

  6. Lynn says:

    Seafood on the grill with Albariño, hard to turn down. I noted your method here with clams. Those were the most creative kits I’ve seen yet, as was your video!

  7. terristeffes says:

    Wow. You knocked it out of the ballpark with your pairing. It looks and sounds so delicious. Something I will want us to try at home. Yum!

  8. Looking at that inviting table and noting Julie’s winter jacket. You two are true Minnesotans – outside as soon as the snow melts! So want those clams with an Albarino.

  9. I can’t believe your lawn is so green — and she’s so bundled up! It’s so dry here in CA this year. Anyway, we enjoy clams often and I’m going to try to get this version on the la plancha with albarino of course!

  10. Nicole Ruiz Hudson says:

    I definitely feel transported! I could definitely go for a helping of those clams with one of these wines!

  11. Shellfish is perfect for Albariño! I might have to duplicate this when we are at Cape Cod this summer.

  12. We just had steamed Manila Clams last night. Hadn’t thought about cooking plancha style. Great idea. And I love your video!

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