Current stock: 5
"... plush, almost satin-textured, sliced through by a vein of cooling acid freshness." - Bibendum
Lusco do Miñho is now Pazos de Lusco. Apart from the new moniker and some schmick new labels, it’s business as usual at this trailblazing Rías Baixas Estate; that is, the team here continue to strive to create seriously juicy and steely Albariño from the Condado do Tea subzone. Over the last few years Lusco have not only become greener – banning herbicides and pesticides from their vineyard - but have continued to implement a more artisanal ideal across all areas of growing and winemaking. To this end, the use of indigenous yeasts and longer lees aging - surely as a result of the influence of Rafael Palacios - have joined hand harvesting, low cropping (at less than a third of the permitted norm), single-peza batching and the use of large format, used oak as the means to echo the distinct voice of these verdant, granitic vineyards of Atlantic Spain. Pazos de Lusco's métier to produce a seldom-encountered brand of intense, steely and overtly saline Albarino is aided by the warm and relatively dry terroir of Condado de Tea. Out of the five subzones of Rías Baixas, Condado de Tea - which extends westwards from Tui along the Miño valley up to the neighbouring Riberiro DO – is the most southern area and the furthest from the Atlantic Ocean. The landscape here is more fragmented and consists of several small river valleys. The soils are granite and slate based. It’s a set of natural circumstance that, in the right hands, favours a style of wine both ripe and mineral laden with the mineral-rich soils and cool Atlantic nights providing the crisp energy and drive.
Much has been made of Albarino’s short lifespan. While this is the case for many of the regions modest wines, when it comes to the Lusco examples, this is not necessarily the case. As Barquin et all note in the Finest Wines of North West Spain, a Pazos de Lusco Albariño is “… capable of doing much more than merely surviving in bottle but actually show their best [with age] in terms of character and structure.” Perhaps so, but given the sheer pleasure and youthful enjoyment offered by these wines now, we very much doubt we’ll get the chance to taste their aging potential.
'Zios' comes from a selection of twenty year old Albariño vineyards in As Neves, a subdistrict of Condado do Tea. The 2013 is a lucid example of Albariño's ability to deliver refreshing and uplifting Riesling-like purity and drive. The Estate Albariño is the resulting blend of 6 hand harvested pezas (or parcels) which are processed separately before blending. Each parcel spends 6 months on its fine lees where it builds the limpid, mouth-watering texture that has become the calling card of the Estate wines. Pazo Piñeiro is produced from a vineyard selection of Piñeiro's most serious fruit that, post-ferment, is transferred into old 500l casks. Here it rests, merrily taking on texture and nourishment from its fine less, for six months, before a further four month elevage in stainless steel before bottling. The palate is plush, almost satin-textured, sliced though by a vein of cooling acid freshness. Tangy flavours of citrus oils and peels abound and precede a lengthy ‘Germanic’ mineral-laced close. An Atlantic Grosses Gewächs!