Wine of the Week: Martin Codax Albarino

Wine: Martin Codax Albarino

Grape: Albarino

Region: Rias Baixas, northwestern Spain

Vintage: 2012

Price: $12.99

Availability: Vons, Smith’s, Lee’s Discount Liquor

In the glass: Martin Codax Albarino is a bright fine citrine-yellow color with a star-bright core going out into a faint yellow to glass-clear meniscus (rim definition) and medium-high viscosity.

On the nose: The aromatics of this wine are like nothing else in white wines. The wine is fabulously intense and pungent with crushed Japanese gooseberries, also known as physalis, then pear sparkler, apple cider, pomelo fruit segments, water chestnuts, Key lime pie made with kaffir limes, tangerine rind and oodles of fresh minerality. One could spend about 10 minutes “buried” in its sensory overload.

On the palate: This explosively delicious white wine coats the palate with a plethora of interesting dry white fruit characteristics, including citrus rind, lemon drops, Granny Smith apples, white peach skins, apricot jam, honeysuckle and zesty minerals. There is no oak to interfere with the pure fruit, steeliness and sheer delineation coming out of this bottle.

Odds and ends: Albarino is the most expensive grape varietal in Spain and is considered quite noble there, especially if from top producer Martin Codax. Found in the “corner” of Spain, which is right above Portugal, Rias Baixas is famous for its dry aromatic white wines, of which the albarino naturally is the king. It is a sensational white wine. It could turn a red wine drinker onto whites, especially with the early spring in Las Vegas. It is just the perfect drink for the patio or backyard. Much better, crisper and fresher than 99 percent of all white wines in the market, this is the ticket for your next party or dinner. Don’t complain that it is not cheap; it is worth every penny.

Try it by the glass chilled to about 52 degrees Fahrenheit or with something such as spicy Thai food, where it is a match made in heaven, or grilled halibut fresh off the grill. It’ll make the little hairs on your arms stand at attention. It should drink well through 2016.

Gil Lempert-Schwarz’s wine column appears Wednesdays. Write him at P.O. Box 50749, Henderson, NV 89106-0749, or email him at