There are good bottles of wine, and then there are great bottles of wine. Albariño from Galicia tends to produce some really quite lovely lemony white wines, but Mar de Frades deserves a special mention. This award winning wine is a fantastic introduction to the world of Spanish whites. There’s also a sparkling version that’s a much tastier alternative to champagne, so if you’re planning a celebration or about to eat seafood, this is a bottle you need in your life.
As I list the awards that Mar de Frades has gained below, imagine the applause that these bottles have witnessed:
Some Recent Awards Mar de Frades Has Picked Up:
- International Wine Challenge Commended Winner 2016;
- International Wine & Spirit Competition Quality Award;
- Bronze Decanter Award 2015;
- Silver Decanter Award 2015;
- Gold Sommelier Wine Awards 2015;
- Silver Sommelier Wine Awards 2014;
- International Wine Challenge Bronze Winner 2014;
- International Wines and Spirits Competition 2014, Silver (Albariño).
Some Recent Awards the Sparkling Mar de Frades Has Won:
- International Wine Challenge, commended;
- Silver Decanter Award 2015;
- International Wines and Spirits Competition 2016, Silver (Bottle Fermented Sparkling).
I could go on, but you get the idea. This producer creates wines which stands out from the field.
Mar de Frades Albariño Tasting Notes:
On the nose, it smells of soft summer fruit, and a little floral with a hint of pineapple. To taste, the citrus flavours that are usually found in Albariño are present, but rather than tasting of lemons it has orange flavours. The fruit is jammy. It also has a herbaceous quality that lends it to drinking with vegetables.
Mar de Frades Brut Nature Tasting Notes:
The sparkling version has a lovely peach aroma, with eucalyptus and a slight saline quality. Ageing has given it a toasty and nutty character as well. To taste, it is essentially a creamier, smoother version of the regular Mar de Frades Albariño, and it would be lovely with smoked salmon.
What Makes Mar de Frades So Special?
Local geography greatly improves the quality of the wine. The vineyard is tucked behind an estuary on a slope, which means the vines are shielded from strong winds coming in off the Atlantic. Yet having a maritime climate means that the grapes can spend longer growing and developing their flavours. As a northerly wine region, there’s no guarantee that any particular vintage will be good, but the 2016 vintage saw an excellent summer.
The Mar de Frades Brut Nature is also no ordinary sparkler. It’s made with exactly the same process as Champagne, and resting on its lees adds to that toasty flavour. Yet by using just the Albariño, the wine has a lovely citrus quality, that you wouldn’t find in a Champagne blend.
Delicious Things to Eat with Mar de Frades:
While many fish dishes would work very well with Mar de Frades, there’s an interesting Dutch meal of haddock with mango chutney, ‘Schelvis met mango-saus’. The condiment is likely to work well with the soft fruit qualities of the sparkling wine. The herbacious notes would also be good with samphire, if it’s in season. The regular Mar de Frades has orange notes, and sour oranges go very well with fish like grouper. Although if you can’t get a sour orange, just mix the juice of two regular oranges with a lemon.
Explore the Wonderful Region of Rias Baixas
If you like the sound of Albariño, there’s a whole region making it. This article, ‘Discovering the Best Albariño Rías Baixas Baixas Has to Offer’ talks about other excellent examples available through eBuy Wines, and ‘3 Reasons You’re Incredibly Lucky to Taste Rías Baixas’ looks at how unlikely it is that you can sample this wonderful stuff.