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First American Albarino released


Craig Camp
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( BW)(CA-HAVENS-WINE-CELLARS) Havens Wine Cellars Releases 2002 Albarino

Business Editors/Wine Writers

NAPA VALLEY, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--April 1, 2003--Havens Wine Cellars, carrying on the tradition of wines integral to a gracious table, today announced the release of its 2002 Albarino. The beloved white wine of Galicia, Albarino refreshes with floral aromatics and exotic fruits, in contrast to so many white wines in California.

Havens Wine Cellars in 2001 registered Albarino as an official grape variety here, and it was the first winery to offer Albarino commercially in the United States.

"Allowed to ripen just a few days longer in last fall's unusual heat, the 2002 vintage is slightly smoothed at the edges of the grape's intense natural acidity," said wine grower Michael Havens. "We were looking for a slightly more gentle mouth-feel out of the bottle, just barely distinguishable from previous vintages to retain the celebration of the fruit and the bright acid 'nerve,' for which our Albarino is so loved," he said.

Havens Albarino is fruit focused, never masked by wood or non-fruit elements It engages the palate with intense aromatics of citrus fruit blossoms and ripe melon, followed by layers of elegant stone fruit flavors. It finishes with crisp notes of lime that linger light and tangy.

"As our only white wine, Albarino has become an endearing hallmark of our wine producing seasons," said wine grower Michael Havens. "It is the first fruit to come into our winery for crush, and the first to be released the next spring."

Production is 540 cases; suggested retail is $24 per bottle.

Havens' Albarino Story

For Havens Wine Cellars, known for its classically styled reds, Albarino is another story of Europe, love, and wine growers' license. Proprietors Michael and Kathryn Havens found this white at all the best seafood restaurants while traveling through Northern Spain in 1996.

In 1997, Havens arranged to plant some Albarino budwood from a famous estate in Galicia in a windy, cool area of Napa Carneros. Today, three acres of Stewart Ranch is now dedicated to this aromatic white. Each vine produces several very small clusters, which feature the smallest berries, toughest skins, and darkest seeds of any white wine variety we know.

Albarino and Food

Havens Wine Cellars' goal is to make wines that work with food, achieving balance in the wine to give drinking pleasure at the table. In Albarino, there are two interpretations of fruit to complement different food experiences: the refreshing floral aromas and exotic fruit refine raw oysters, sushi and enliven other seafoods. Those qualities also make this wine a quintessential match for tapas, especially when they feature a degree of saltiness or piquant spice. Just as exciting, the stone fruit on the back palate pairs it perfectly with cheeses and fruits, such as mangoes, figs, strawberries and pears.

About Havens Wine Cellars

Havens Wine Cellars, located in Napa Valley, California, produces fine Merlot, Syrah, a Cabernet Franc/Merlot blend called Bourriquot, and Albarino, selected by top restaurants, wine shops, and specialized retailers around the world. Distinguished by wines with the complexity and refined elegance of their classic European counterparts, Havens Wine Cellars is renowned for its visionary selection of fruit from the cool Carneros region of California and the artisinal direction of an owner-wine grower. Carrying on the tradition of wines integral to a gracious table, Havens offer its wines at the most reasonable prices in their categories. For information, call 707-261-2000, or visit their website at www.havenswine.com.

Technical Data

Vineyard: Stewart Ranch, Napa Valley, Carneros

100% Albarino

Harvest: September 04, 2002

Whole cluster pressing produced 160 gallons per ton

Sugar: 22% produced 12.5% alcohol

Fermentation: Selected yeast inoculum - QA23 (from Portugal)

Fermented 21 days, average temperature 58 degrees

Aging: 5 months on the lees, in 1000-gallon upright tank

Bottled: Sterile Filtered and bottled, 27 February, 2003.

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In the Spring of 2000, Bob Lindquist (of Qupe) and Louisa Sawyer Lindquist released their first Albarino under the Verdad Wine Cellars label, from Albarino vines that they planted on the Ibarra-Young vineyard in Los Olivos, California. Verdad also produces a lovely Tempranillo-Grenache Rose.

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In the Spring of 2000, Bob Lindquist (of Qupe) and Louisa Sawyer Lindquist released their first Albarino under the Verdad Wine Cellars label, from Albarino vines that they planted on the Ibarra-Young vineyard in Los Olivos, California. Verdad also produces a lovely Tempranillo-Grenache Rose.

You can't believe everything you read. How was the Verdad and did it say Albarino on the label or use a proprietary name?

Edited by Craig Camp (log)
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At the time of the release, the US government did not officially recognize the grape "Albarino", therefore Louisa settled for "inspired by Spanish Albarino" on the back label.

However, in March 2002, the BATF approved using Albariño as a varietal designation on domestic labels.

The wine is beautiful, with much of the floral, fruit and mineral character of the Spanish bottlings. It's also quite crisp and a wonderful pair with seafood.

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The wine is beautiful, with much of the floral, fruit and mineral character of the Spanish bottlings. It's also quite crisp and a wonderful pair with seafood.

Amen to this. I put the Verdad on the list last year at a restaurant in Cape May, NJ where I play at sommeliere over the summers and it flew out the door. Reasonably priced and absolutely delicious. I hope this year's vintage is as tasty. This one is a no brainer for a return engagement on the wine list.

Katie M. Loeb
Booze Muse, Spiritual Advisor

Author: Shake, Stir, Pour:Fresh Homegrown Cocktails

Cheers!
Bartendrix,Intoxicologist, Beverage Consultant, Philadelphia, PA
Captain Liberty of the Good Varietals, Aphrodite of Alcohol

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How do these California albarinos compare quality and pricewise to the Spaniards? They are such crisp, clean, food-friendly wines that are generally pretty reasonably priced. It is difficult to imagine that the Californians can provide a better value unless they are significantly better. That too is difficult to imagine.

John Sconzo, M.D. aka "docsconz"

"Remember that a very good sardine is always preferable to a not that good lobster."

- Ferran Adria on eGullet 12/16/2004.

Docsconz - Musings on Food and Life

Slow Food Saratoga Region - Co-Founder

Twitter - @docsconz

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How do these California albarinos compare quality and pricewise to the Spaniards? They are such crisp, clean, food-friendly wines that are generally pretty reasonably priced. It is difficult to imagine that the Californians can provide a better value unless they are significantly better. That too is difficult to imagine.

The Verdad retails for anywhere from $14-16. Although slightly more than the Spanish wines, it's a matter of which style you prefer - The "Old World" slightly cooler climate and drier or the "New World" warmer weather, more fruit forward style. In either case, I'd rather be drinking Albarino of either origin with my seafood than almost anything else :smile:

Perhaps picking up a bottle of the Verdad and enjoying it with a meal you'd usually serve the Spanish version with will give you the best answer. It's a noble experiment at the very least, and a tough job, but someone has to do it! :biggrin:

Katie M. Loeb
Booze Muse, Spiritual Advisor

Author: Shake, Stir, Pour:Fresh Homegrown Cocktails

Cheers!
Bartendrix,Intoxicologist, Beverage Consultant, Philadelphia, PA
Captain Liberty of the Good Varietals, Aphrodite of Alcohol

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Pricewise it sounds as if they are at least in the same ballpark. It is always fun trying out new wines and comparing styles. I'll keep a lookout for some.

John Sconzo, M.D. aka "docsconz"

"Remember that a very good sardine is always preferable to a not that good lobster."

- Ferran Adria on eGullet 12/16/2004.

Docsconz - Musings on Food and Life

Slow Food Saratoga Region - Co-Founder

Twitter - @docsconz

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