Albariño, 'Sketch', Bodegas y Viñedos Raúl Pérez
The vineyard for Sketch was planted in the mid-1950s. It’s quite literally next to the ocean, and the soil is basically decomposed granitic sand with some organic material. Fermentation is in two 700L French barrels that were purchased new in 2002 and have been used for every vintage of Sketch, so they’re now on their 16th use as of the 2017 vintage. Fermentation is spontaneous and the wine remains untouched for the rest of the vintage cycle; no stirring, no racking, no nothing.
Possibly the most important point about this wine is that it’s a late harvest. Raúl hates the idea of malolactic conversion in Albariño, so he leaves the grapes on the vine for as much as three weeks after everyone in the area has harvested. As the grapes continue to ripen, the levels of malic go down naturally, thus obviating the need for malolactic conversion. So the TOTAL acidity of the wine is lower than almost any other wine in the region, but the acid impression on the palate can be stronger because a higher proportion of the total acid is malic.
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