Etxea Rorick Vineyard Albariño 2017

Sierra Foothills
$29 (Wine Club Reorder $26)

It all started in 2014 when neighbors in downtown Napa bonded over skiing, porrons (a traditional glass drinking vessel), and Cabernet Franc. Ryan Pass studied Viticulture and Enology at UC Davis and had been working in the industry for ten years while Luisa Bonachea practiced trademark law, helping establish wine brands. The journey of Etxea began by searching for the perfect grapes. Upon learning Albariño grapes were available at Rorick Heritage Vineyard, they were intrigued and after seeing the vineyard, unwaveringly committed. (If you’ve been in the wine club for a while you might’ve had Gallica Albarino from the same vineyard, which was also de-lish!)

Etxea means “house” in the Basque language and gives homage to Luisa’s Basque roots, the Spanish origins of Albariño and the Basque grape Hondarrabi Beltza, a descendant of Cabernet Franc. The goal at Etxea Wines is to make a “house” wine from unique vineyard sites and varietals that you can enjoy every day and with every meal.

Sourced from Rorick Heritage Vineyard, a 2,000 ft. elevation vineyard high in the Sierra Foothills with steeply-planted vines and limestone-rich soils. This rare geological gem has a stunning diversity of sun exposures, elevations, temperatures, and soils. Etxea’s Albariño block sees warm days and cool nights driven by the high elevation. The wine is aged on its lees, with no sulfur added, for six months before bottling. The result is a refreshingly crisp wine with lingering notes of stone fruit, melon, and a burst of salinity. Only 96 cases of this 2017 beauty were produced. You might think 2017 is old for a white wine, but the ‘17 was drinking much smoother than the 2019 we also sampled.

Albariño pairs exceptionally well with white fish and meats as well as leafy green herbs. A nice Tuesday night plate of fresh cod tacos would go amazingly well with this brightly acidic wine. The perfect wine to drink as the weather begins to warm up to keep you refreshed.

Jennie Kaplan Woodson – July 2021

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