Bodegas Martín Códax Albariño, Rías Baixas 2020

Medium straw color; grapefruit, lemon-lime, white flowers on the nose; grapefruit, lemon, nectarine, pear, saline on the palate.

Bodegas Martín Códax Albariño, Rías Baixas 2020

Dry; light and refreshing; no tannins or oak. Good acidity. Soft on the palate, very approachable. Albariño wines have a touch of bitterness due to the phenol content of the grape’s thick skins; that is a feature, not a bug, and why it does so well with seafood. This iteration delivers an intriguing whiff of sweetness at the end of a long finish. This is 100% albariño. 12.5% ABV

In Rías Baixas in northwestern Spain, albariño is known as “the wine of the sea.” Albariño grapevines are some the oldest living grapevines in the world—up to 300 years old. Americans are discovering this delicious, versatile varietal. U.S. sales of albariño wines were some $12 million last year, a 14% increase. There are more than 180 wineries making albariño in the small coastal region of Rías Baixas now. Martín Códax is the largest and most available in the U.S. In northwestern Portugal, this is known as alvarinho. Almost all of the world’s albariño/alvarinho wine comes from those two regions.

Bodegas Martín Códax was founded in 1986 as a cooperative with about 50 local grape growers in Galicia in the northwest corner of Spain. It is named after the most known Galician troubadour whose medieval poems, the oldest in the Galician-Portuguese language, survive to the present. In the poems, the troubadour sings to love, the sea, and the coastline.

Martín Códax vineyards

The Martín Códax website notes: “To maintain a supply of top-quality Albariño grapes, the winery acquired vineyards of its own and crafted long-term agreements with many family grape growers whose grapes met the winery’s exacting standards. Today, Martín Códax oversees more than 1,400 small vineyard parcels farmed by 550 families in the Rías Baixas region around the town of Cambados. Martín Códax maintains its quality through continuous investment in research, innovation, and talented, creative people.

“The ‘signature’ wine of Martín Códax is Albariño, the versatile white wine that has made Galicia famous among connoisseurs around the world. The wines of Martín Códax have won international acclaim and are sold in over 40 countries around the world, where they have come to symbolize Galician culture at its finest.” It is imported in the U.S. by E & J Gallo, thus enjoys wide distribution.

Katia Álvarez, Luciano Amoedo

Katia Álvarez manages the winemaking with Luciano Amoedo, a ninth-generation winemaker. Amoedo was one of the founders of Martín Códex.

Martín Códax winery tasting area

Bodegas Martín Códax Albariño, Rías Baixas 2020 delivers a firm, focused, racy wine that is a very versatile food pairing wine, and perfect pairing with fin food. Tartness and some classic salinity. Artisanally made. Superb QPR. Pair with seafood; fish; Spanish tapas; white meats; rice dishes; salads; vegetarian fare; Thai, Indian, Moroccan cuisine. Cheese—soft cheeses like burrata; semi-hard—manchego, gouda, salty feta. $12-16

Martín Códax website

Martín Códax interior tasting area
Martín Códax fermentation vessels
Martín Códax vineyards