Sandwich Day Friday brought a nice surprise this week.
We've let our Albariño love wither on the vine over the last three years (Bah! Wine humor!).
More will be drunk this summer, I sure.
Food: Ham & cheese on Syrian bread with cherry tomatoes and arugula
Deli ham with herbed-up cream cheese on toasted Syrian bread topped with artichokes, cherry tomatoes, arugula with some olive oil and a little balsamic.
Light and fresh with a nice herbal kick. Bright with the ham, nice acid with the tomatoes, creamy/earthy depth with artichokes, a sort of herbes de Provence hint that played off the subtle toastiness of the Syrian bread with everything cooled off by the cream cheese and freshened up with the peppery arugula.
Was it a flatbread? Was it an open-faced sandwich? I tend to steer away from the flatbread description as it's a bit too trendy (well...a year ago). Sandwich Day is always a great day. Nothing can go wrong in the world when it's Sandwich Day.
Wine: 2008 Orballo Albariño ($15 - Binny's)
Grape: 100% Albariño
Region: Rías Baixas
Located in the far west of Spain on the coast, just north of the Portuguese border, Rías Baixas grows a bevy of local grapes for local consumption (including Torrontes, which I didn't know) but Albariño is the star export wine. Known as Alvarinho in Portugal for the bottling of Vinho Verdes in the Minho region just (and I mean just) over the border.
A nice wine. Maybe not as game-changingly good as a few sites say but we'll be buying more. A good wine to have around in the fridge to pop anytime.
Straight yellow in the glass with maybe a hint of green. Tons of lemon rind to start with a bit of creamy almond and maybe a little pineapple (some other fruit I couldn't figure out). Solid acidity, good balance, a little tinge of bubbly that danced on my tongue. Even a little depth as well. Just nice stuff.
Sure, Albariño falls in the Muscadet/Vermentino category for the most part as wines that border on the simple, but like those, if you find a good one that hits you just right, they can be utterly delicious, even showing a unique character and bring a surprise or two.
Pairing: 89 Refreshing and good
Every bite had all the food elements in it. With that, the wine cut right through the food and cleansed the palate. I caught a change with the wine as the lemon rind note turned to pure lemon juice, especially with a bigger bite of arugula.
Everything became better with a bit of balsamic and even that wee hint of creamy almond in the wine showed up on occasion with the food.
The open-faced sandwich had everything we needed to be happy. But something about having it with a wine that brought some pleasing lemon notes and a balanced acidity to play off the herbs in the cheese and arugula made it that much better.
It was just a sandwich and a decent little Albariño...but it felt like a full-fledged, sit-down, use a napkin sort of meal.