An ancient wine region with roots of a contiguous viticultural tradition stretching back for over 1,000 years on the northern Atlantic coast of Spain, you’d think should have some, if not enormous, renown these days. Asturias, however, is more known for cider, cheese, & sheep than it is for wine in the broader global drinking mind. A way to think of this heirloom wine region would be one cryogenically frozen – the same way that, perhaps, the traditional practices & wines of the Jura in France have found a modern following after many decades if not centuries seemingly hermetically sealed from the rest of France’s wine tradition, Asturias’ own history is one of seeming isolation. Topographically cut off from Galicia to the West and Bierzo to the South by various mountain ranges and without a clear connection to the Txakoli tradition of Basque Country to the east, Asturias has always been a bit on its own. The climate is cold – distinctly Atlantic – with prevailing soil types paired with the terrain’s steep exposure/grade both reminiscent of the Mosel (Slate with bits of anthracite & quartz). The wine country in Asturias has a distinctly monastic history – and in this way, there are loads of old “organically” (chemical-free) heirloom vineyards. Francisco Asencio of Dominio del Urogallo tends several such vineyards of old-vine Asturias specialties (Albarín, Mencía, Carrasquín, Verdejo Tinto, Albillo, & Albarín Negro), and crafts from these cold-climate gems seafaring wines of particular salinity & clarity despite being a zero/zero producer! His wine career is only a decade or so old after a previous life in the renewable energies sector – truly under-the-radar beauties full of life.
The ideal park white, bursting with tropical fruit, oyster brine, and just a kiss of chalky tannin on the finish. 90% Albarín and 10% Albillo, hand-harvested and gently pressed into used barrels. The wine ferments and ages with the lees and is bottled unfined, unfiltered with no SO2.