Hihi Gisborne Albarino 2013 – $$
My parents brought this bottle when they came to stay with me this Labour Weekend. I have never before tried Albarino, a varietal white wine made from a white wine grape originating from Galicia in Spain, also known as Alvarinho, and sometimes as Cainho Branco.
Wikipedia sez the grape is noted for its distinctive aroma, very similar to that of Viognier, Gewurztraminer, and Petit Manseng, suggesting apricot and peach. The wine produced is unusually light, and generally high in acidity with alcohol levels of 11.5–12.5%. Its thick skins and large number of pips can cause residual bitterness.
Hihi Wines website also sez [they are] a small boutique winery based in Ormond, Gisborne. The label was launched in 2005 with 200 cases sold in the first year. Growth has been rapid with over 2,000 cases sold in 2012.
Hihi means “rays of the sun” referencing Gisborne, the ‘first city to see the sun’ and is also the name of the Stitchbird, Notiomystis cincta, one of NZ’s rarest birds.
This is what I sez: pale greenish straw colour, 14%. Smells sweet and fruity, a combo of sav blanc and viognier. I taste bracing fresh citrus fruit, and honey sweetness. There is acidity as well as ripeness. No bitterness here. It’s a bit like a fresh medium riesling in that regard. A light wine, well suited as an aperitif with finger food.
L sez I am not one to change gears quickly, so it is good for me to say I like this wine. And will try again.
As well as Albarino, Hihi Wines is also growing uncommon grape varieties (in NZ) such as Verdelho, Tempranillo, Nebbiolo, Barbera, Grenache, Mourvedre, Pinotage, Carmanere, and Touriga Nacional. They are someone to keep an eye on, as is this easy-drinking wine over the next 1-2 years. 3.5