Woodinville winemaker Brad Sherman focuses his eponymous brand on Bordeaux varieties, but he and Jared Whelchel work with Italian and Spanish varieties under the Michael Florentino Cellars label. Albariño is an ideal fit and their flair with it is apparent. It all starts with Crawford Vineyards near Prosser, Wash. In the cellar, 75% of the lot is fermented in stainless steel tanks, while the rest spent five weeks in acacia barrels. Concentrated aromas feature Granny Smith apple, dusty Bosc pear and a sense of tropicality. On the palate, there’s some fleshiness of white peach — a sense of roundness that’s a sign of the partial (29%) malolactic fermentation — that’s pushed along by lime juice and more green apple flavors. Its long, mouth-watering finish easily overtakes the residual sugar, barely perceptible at 0.5%, and screams for shellfish or Sherman’s suggestion of a cheese plate featuring camembert and brie. The total experience prompted one judge to exclaim, “This is a textbook example for the Northwest,” while another added, “It’s an Albariño with all of the trimmings.”
Rating: Unanimously Outstanding!
Double gold medal — 98 points
Production: 200 cases