June 24, 2020
The Decade-Long Search Is Over! Discover the Cult-Like Find from Spain's Rugged Coastline and Albariño’s Birthplace in the Valley of the Saints!
“Ernesto Zárate established this winery in the Val do Salnes in 1920 and went on to become one of the pioneers for the region…what LITTLE WINE WAS MADE was solely for local consumption. These are wonderful expressions of Albariño, full of vigor, vivacity and complexity – the kind of wines that put a BIG FAT SMILE on your face.” — Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate
Zip, zam, zing… Ain’t that the truth? We could not agree more, this is one of those wines that puts a big fat smile on our face – especially when you find them. Ten years ago, Italian Wine Merchants was one of a mere handful in the US to carry this celebrated insider white, but then the wine vanished from the market, increasing the mystique of this elusive estate. Zárate is that small artisanal Spanish producer I had been searching years for; little of their wine was made, little arrived in the US, and what did arrive was poorly handled. Those that found it kept it at a low profile, even whispering about it as there was not enough to go around. The irony is, this hush, hush producer from along the Galician coast is locally known as one of the great patriarchs of old vine Albariño, releasing limited production bottlings from single vineyard plots that earned the Bodega a reputation for what is the equivalent of Grand Cru-like wines from the Valley of the Saints (Val do Sanes) region of Rias Baixas.
These prized selections are known for their signature zip, freshness, minerality, and layers of depth, and they have found their way to the wine lists of the world’s most celebrated restaurants, including the Michelin-rated El Bulli and Arzak in Spain. While it is the extremely rare and highly sought-after grand cru-like El Palomar expression from 120 year old vines that commands much attention, along with the limited production Balado and Tras da Viña, for IWM the greatness of the estate begins with the 2019 Zárate Albariño Rias Baixas Val do Salnes at just $21.99.
If you are a fan of the crisp, clean whites from the Kimmeridgian soils of Chavignol Sancerre or Chablis, wines that make you feel their tension, energy and bite, our recommendation is to buy this Zárate bottling by the case.
Featured Wine: Debut of Zárate’s Prized Albariño (Click to Order)
Note: Wines begin to arrive first week of July, El Palomar arrives in September
Albariño is another one of those refreshing, zippy whites that transports you to the rugged coastline of Spain and the sacred lands of Galicia, making you crave the local langostinos (prawns), cigalas (crayfish), mariscos (shellfish), pulpo (octopus), or even the prized percebes (gooseneck barnacles). The Albariño-based wine from these ancient soils exemplifies the crisp, mineral-driven regional whites of Rias Baixas — without a forbidding price tag. The prized wines of Zárate are organic and void of oak, packed with clean, unadulterated freshness with a bite that evokes the Valley of the Saints.
Folklore has it that the Albariño grape was brought by Cistercian monks making their pilgrimage to the holy city of Santiago and it is Valle del Salnes (Val do Salnes) that is the birthplace of Spain’s great white. Well, add wine and food as a reason to make the pilgrimage and not too far from Santiago is the humble estate and winery of Zárate. Here they capture the salinity of the sea, the pristine mountain air, and the minerality of the soil in what are some of the freshest whites we have tasted from around the world. Absolutely exciting to drink, these are transporting wines - a true vacation in a glass and summer refreshment.
ADDITIONAL NOTES AND REVIEWS:
“The winery from Eulogio Pomares Zárate is one of the veterans in Rías Bixas zone, as the winery was created in the 1920s in Meaño, in the heart of the Salnés valley, most probably the cradle of the Albariño grape. It's not until the year 2000 when Eulogio Pomares son moves to making wine as a full time job. He works 6.54 hectares of vineyards spread on 11 different plots with a very old un-grafted vineyard where they source plant material to replant the rest. Total production averages 80,000 bottles. A vigneron to follow up closely as their wines are getting better and better and are among the top of the appellation.” — Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate
2019 Zárate Albariño Rias Baixas Val do Salnes
Chris Deas, Italian Wine Merchants: “Zip, zam, zing! It’s the return of our “zip-a-dee-doo-dah, zip-a-dee-ay” wine. This electrifying wine is all about zip, purity and minerality, and it continues with the 2019 release. The wine once again captures its coastal origins and granite-based soils that add layers of depth and minerality to an explosive core of citrus. A special value treat from the great patriarch of the region, this entry-level cuvée is sourced from 35-year-old vines in eleven different vineyards and aged in stainless steel. This organic wine is all about freshness, and the Bodega’s signature notes of grapefruit, lime and minerality are present, accented by lemon, green apple, herbs, and ocean salinity. It is a wine that possesses enough concentration and substance to make it an easy summer crowd-pleaser, but the standout here is the crisp dryness of the wine and its streak of acidity. We are talking more finesse and precision than our other favorite Albariño from the region, DO Ferreiro. This is another classic match for seafood. Again, production is limited, just 2,500 cases and very little arrives into the US. Absolutely exciting to drink, these are transporting wines — a true vacation in a glass and summer refreshment.”
This is an email ONLY offer. Should you have any questions on these exciting wines, or would like to take advantage of this offer while supplies last, we are asking that you email orders back to me at firstname.lastname@example.org, connect with your portfolio manager, or mention receipt of this offer if calling the store. All orders are subject to confirmation.
All my best,