Wine Review: TerraVox Albania Missouri 2016

albania labelThis wine is from one of the more interesting wine projects in the U.S. Jerry Eisterhold of Vox Vineyards and TerraVox Winery near Kansas City is rediscovering long forgotten American grape varieties, most of them first cultivated by the legendary grape breeder T.V. Munson in the late 19th Century. The project has been under development since 1996 but went commercial in 2015. Wines such as Lenoir, Wetumka, and Lomanto are not familiar to most wine lovers but Eisterhold seeks to change that. I’ve tasted several of these varieties over the past couple years, and Albania is one of the most intriguing.

This white wine is pale lemon yellow in appearance and quite cloudy when first opened. Exotic scents of of tangerine, grapefruit, floral and mint  meld with wet stone to form an intriguing bouquet. On the crisp, textured palate, citrus and hints of red apple juxtaposed with searing, mineral-driven acidity give the wine a tense, energetic affect. Bone dry with no viscosity, the wine nevertheless has body, a function not of the weight of the fruit but of a slight granular mouthfeel from dry extract. It’s focal point emerges on the finish as the tart acidity is balanced by a flood of invigorating, spring water freshness .

An engaging wine and  a grape with great potential, with oysters this would be outstanding. It’s now sold out online but wait for the next bottling. This is a unique wine quite unlike any of the more familiar “zesty white” varietals.

It paired best with pretty, yet vigorous techno-pop such as the Brazilian Girls Jique.

Score: 88

Price: $30

Alc: 10.8%

One comment

  1. The 2019 Albania arrived in my club shipment and I just had to taste it right away, rather than wait for my brother & our friend George to taste it with me. Just the name intrigued me. Why would Munson have named it for a remote Balkan country? Rather than for a friend, or some little town in Oklahoma? But Munson was in contact with the leading French wine scientists of the day, guys who would have been familiar with wines of the old Austro-Hungarian Empire. Humm.

    Well, the wine was a knockout! This 2019 vintage is technically flawless. Big, crisp, full-bodied, and long on the palate, with bracing acidity. And with an exotic floral nose, not tutti-fruity at all, but something deeper and more persistent. It strongly reminded me of a rare, bone-dry, Furmint varietal wine from Hungary’s Tokaji region, wines that are so fine they stand in the company of great dry Rieslings. [Furmint is grown under the name Šipon in Croatia, and that is getting closer to Albania, but the mind wanders.]

    So, on the strength of that one varietal Albania from TerraVox, I ordered some Albania cuttings from UC Davis for my Los Angeles area backyard. Now there are 7 Munson hybrids back there. What sets Albania apart is that it is so Vinifera-like in its wine, even though genetically it is only 1/8th Vinifera! Crazy! Wild!

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