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2019 Albariño, III Año, Fefiñanes - A stunning Spanish white with impressive complexity

October 2022

2019 Albariño, III Año, Fefiñanes

A stunning Spanish white with impressive complexity

 £170 per 6 bottle case in bond

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I recently had the chance to taste the highly distinctive and unusual 2019 Albariño III Año from Palacio de Fefiñanes, and I have to say I have never had an Albariño like it. This is really rather special and I am pleased to be able to offer at £170 per 6 bottle case in bond.
So what makes this wine so special?
Well, as the name might suggest, the wine is released three years after the vintage – highly unusual for an Albariño. This extended period of maturation, which includes 7 month lees ageing, has fashioned a far more complex wine than I would have expected. Past vintages have been awarded ‘Best white wine in Spain’ in the Penin Guide for Spanish wine (the 2019 has not yet been reviewed by the Guide, nor by any critics). Perhaps if I had read some of the press for past vintages before tasting I might not have been so surprised.

Albariño is the name of this dominant Galician white grape variety which produces fresh-styled citrusy unoaked whites with a fine acidity. The name ‘Alba-rino’ is thought to suggest the ‘white of the Rhine’ and ampelographers believe it may have been brought to Iberia in the 12th century. Some commentators have highlighted stylistic similarities with Riesling, suggesting some shared ancestry, others seem more convinced that it is a close relative of the French grape variety, Petit Manseng. Controversy surrounding origins aside, it is seldom that I have tasted Albariño that benefits from ageing, yet this is one such example.

The producer in question, Bodegas del Palacio de Fefiñanes, is situated in Cambados, the capital of the Salnés Valley. Their winery itself is fascinating as it is custom built to be accommodated in the ancient granite cloisters of a 17th century Renaissance palace in the heart of the town. This was the first estate to ever bottle Albariño, way back in 1928. Production across their various different wines equates to 140,000 bottles with the fruit drawn from quality conscious local growers.

Since 2001, this pioneering producer has, however, elected to produce something rather different from the norm. Just 7,200 bottles of the III Año are produced from the well-selected fruit of 40 to 50-year-old vines grown on granite-based, sandy soils with some lime and clay, not far from the river Ria. The key to the success of this particular wine is the ageing; the wine is fermented in temperature-controlled stainless steel vats and is aged in contact with the fine lees for 7 months, during which time bâtonage is regularly practised. The wine picks up complex nuances from the lees (the fine deposit that forms post fermentation) and by agitating this fine deposit which forms in the vat the winemaker can influence the texture of the wine. The impact of bâtonage is certainly in evidence here and, as Luis Guittérez of The Wine Advocate commented; ‘their wines are good when released, but I like them even better on their second, third and even fourth year’. Indeed, I would be tempted to see how this wine fares after 5-7 years and beyond. Please see below for my tasting note.

2019 Albariño, III Año, Bodegas del Palacio de Fefiñanes
£170 per 6 bottle case in bond

The nose reveals stunning aromas of greengage and pear, ripe apricot and candied citrus peel. This is an incredibly textural wine; on the palate there is a weightiness to the mouthfeel, a creamy leesy note to accompany beautiful layers of ripe orchard fruit and vibrant orange zest. What I find particularly pleasing is the smoky minerality and classic Albariño zippy acidity that accompany the slightly viscous texture, leading to a wonderfully fresh, saline finish. This is clean cut and pure, but with real complexity and depth, and a mouth-watering, long finish. A real surprise and an absolute delight. This is so appealing now, but I would be very intrigued to see how it shows in another 3-5+ years. Drink 2022-2030+ (LH)

Volumes are fairly limited, so please let me know of your interest. Please note that this will be available for delivery in two weeks' time.

Best wishes,


To request a wine, please do not hesitate to contact any member of the Atlas team. We can be reached on +44 (0) 20 3017 2299, or by submitting the form below. Please note that stock may be limited and is always sold on a 'first come, first serve' basis. 

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Atlas Fine Wines Ltd. 

Atlas House, 1 King Street
London, EC2V 8AU
T: +44 (0) 20 3017 2299
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