Twenty-two years ago I started something: Albariño in the New World. Right here on a plot of tough soil in southern Napa Valley in 1997 I established a small plot of Albariño vines with budwood that originated from the Morgadio estate in Rias Baixas, Galicia. Those vines produced the first New World bottles of the variety with vintage 1999. I’ve made Albariño from this vineyard every year since (except for 2008, when I was working in Spain), first under the Havens Wine Cellars brand, then more recently with my friend Morgan Twain-Peterson under the Abrente label. Since 2016 this fruit has become Cave Dog Albariño.
The 2019 Albariño has a floral greeting that jumps from the glass, with notes of guava and lychee. Its natural acidity is substantial, but the fruit richness offers a balance that makes it luscious. I like to drink this wine by itself, with seafood, anything spicy, whether Asian or new world spices, and to be honest, I think it pairs with more foods than virtually any white variety. It’s gratifying to me to see the enthusiasm for this variety spreading to other winemakers, and I’m really happy to still be making this wine 22 years after starting the variety here.