Operative: Agent Red
Objective: Acquire a limited allocation of the legendary 2011 release of Adam LaZarre’s Edna Valley Albariño – a wine that in its early release, has already garnered wide attention and its first medal.
Mission Status: Accomplished!
Current Winery: LaZarre Wines
Wine Subject: 2011 Albariño – Edna Valley
Winemaker: Adam LaZarre
California’s Central Coast region, and specifically Santa Barbara and San Luis Obisbo County has become one of the state’s premier wine regions. The generally warmer climate, moderated by the coastal fog, its sandy and clay loam soil, and broad exposure results in grapes of exceptional purity.
Albariño is the primary grape used to make dry white wine in Northwestern Spains Rias Baixes (Lower Inlets) part of the Galicia region. Considered to be Spain’s premier quality white wine, Albariño is known in Portugal as Alvarinho, where it is often used as a component of Vinho Verde.
Adam LaZarre, while he is officially the winemaker for Villa San-Juliette Winery (and formerly from Hahn Estates and their affiliated labels) has been making super-premium, limited quantity wines for years and has elevated his skill to an art form. Always an operative favorite, this wine, as with all of Adam’s wines, is highly recommended.
Look – Golden yellow with perfect clarity and even coloring, from core to edge. When you spin the wine, it looks dense and springy. It settles quickly, leaving behind tall,skinny tears that move swiftly down the glass.
Smell – Fresh and bright with plenty of zesty lemon, birch bark, lime, yellow apple and yellow grapefruit. As the wine warms and opens up a little, it reveals underripe pear, white peach, dried white flowers and a hint of minerally almond.
Feel – Soft and round on entry, then quickly zingy, bright, lively and drying. Bright acids transport a rush of crisp flavors to the far corners of the palate. A flinty dryness spreads quickly, drying tongue, lips then cheeks.
Taste – Bright and bold with lively flavors of lemon, lime, white peach, grapefruit and tart green apple. Allow the wine to warm a little and be rewarded with soft, follow-on flavors of white flower petals, pear, slate and subtle white pepper.
Finish – Very long and ever-changing, this wine starts off with tart citrus that gives way to peach and green apple which, in turn, yield to pear, slate minerals, white flowers – with a fine, zesty hint of white pepper at the very end. After flavors fade from the main parts of the palate, the white pepper zing persists on the lips – which is really fun.
Conclusion – Oh, Adam LaZarre, when we start our own winery, will you be our winemaker?! Adam always seems to just get it right when he makes his wines. This explains why he is one of the most sought-after winemakers on the Central Coast – and beyond. We even received a recent report (from one of our deep cover moles) that a prominent Napa Valley winery tried to recruit him.
Adam’s 2011 LaZarre Albariño – Edna Valley is a bright, delicious, fun wine that is filled with life, flavor and complexity. Flavors are persistent and they change from one to another in even tempo, leading to a very long and exciting finish. At the very end, fruits fade away and a lovely flinty minerality is punctuated by a softly spicy white pepper feel on the lips. If you love Albariño, or great white wines for that matter, you’ll want to stock up on this delicious summertime sipper.
The location of the verdant Edna Valley, perhaps the finest place in the Western Hemisphere for white wines (according to Adam LaZarre), can be seen in thissatellite photo.