Tangent Wines: Leading the American Albariño Revolution
Jul 10, 2017
Tangent’s maritime influenced estate, Paragon Vineyard, continues to be California’s leading producer of the food-friendly and popular Spanish-style wine.
The Albariño grape is native to Spain’s Rías Baixas district in the northwest region of Galicia, where maritime influences from the bordering Atlantic Ocean provide temperate growing conditions, resulting in wines high in acid and bursting with flavor. With over 200 acres of Albariño planted in California and 49 of those acres in the Paragon Vineyard, Tangent has been at the forefront of crafting California Albariños for over 12 years, proving this varietal has found its second home in the cool climate of the Edna Valley.
The renowned Paragon Vineyard was established in 1973 by the Niven Family, where the unique location of the Edna Valley Only 5.4 miles from the Pacific Ocean – has provided ideal growing conditions for cool climate varieties like Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Grüner Veltliner and Albariño. Recognizing the Edna Valley mirrors the conditions in the O Rosal subregion of Rías Baixas, the Niven Family has been a leader in crafting a diverse range of California Albariños, experimenting with different soil types such as Diablo clay laying over ancient marine sediments composed of sand stone, Monterey shale and limestone.
After much trial and research, blind tastings and consultations with Spanish winemakers, the Niven Family has created a diverse portfolio of Albariño from the Edna Valley while embodying the true characteristics of this varietal.
Each Tangent Albariño shares an intense floral note that dominates the nose, with hints of citrus and tropical fruit leading to bright acidity and briny characteristics on the palate.
Paragon Vineyard (SIP Certified since 2008) has been able to produce exceptional Albariños that are unique to California but rival the best of Spain. In fact, at the 2016 Bacchus International Wine Competition in Madrid Spain, the Tangent Albariño received a Gold among the stiff competition of numerous Spanish Albariños. Tangent was one of only 11, Albariños to receive a Gold and the only producer outside of Rias Baixas and Vinho Verde to win this esteemed award. Tangent was also one of only seven New World wines to receive a Gold, throughout all varietals entered.
With an uncharacteristically long growing season, Paragon Vineyard maintains a consistent, temperate climate that allows Winemaker Christian Roguenant to produce exceptional Albariños from vintage to vintage. Made in the traditional style of Rías Baixas Albariño, the Tangent Albariño is pure and vibrant, accented by a slight salty characteristic typical of this varietal. Fermented in 100% stainless steel, the wine has bright aromas of mandarin orange and tangerine peel that carry through to the palate, finishing with crisp, mouthwatering acidity.
“If you’re a true seafood lover,” says Roguenant, “there’s no better varietal to choose.”
As Tangent continues to produce vibrant wines of good acidity and structure, the wines are naturally a perfect accompaniment to a wide range of foods, especially seafood. Excited by the growing popularity of this grape throughout the US and the world, Roguenant is not surprised this wine is a hit, especially within coastal areas. “The brininess of Albariño, combined with the crisp acidity and flavors of citrus, apple, pear and banana, enhance the flavors of seafood like crustaceans, oysters and delicate fish.”
The Niven Family’s focus on innovation has resulted in Albariños that are a testimony to the cool climate growing conditions and unique soils of the Edna Valley. These internationally awarded wines further solidify the Niven Family as the leading producer of domestic Albariño, and the Edna Valley as the home of New World Albariño.
Christian was born to make wine. A native of the Burgundy region of France, he grew up surrounded by vineyards. Christian decided early on to become a winemaker, studying enology and winemaking at the University of Dijon. There, he honed his skills early and has since made wine in numerous countries across five continents. The opportunity to make exceptional wines in San Luis Obispo County led him to the Central Coast. Christian finds the style of the Tangent wines completely irresistible: pure varietal character, higher acid, minerality, food wines. They remind him of some of the individual varieties he made back in France for sparkling wines, as well as some whites he made in both the Loire Valley and New Zealand.
NIVEN FAMILY WINE ESTATES
With its soils, slopes and nightly blanket of frigid fog from the sea just 5.4 miles away, the visionary Niven Family pioneered the planting of wine grapes in the Edna Valley. Since planting the Paragon Vineyard in 1973, the Niven Family continues to blaze trails in the valley – from establishing it as an official AVA in 1982, to gaining international praise for crafting pure expressions of Edna Valley’s wholly unique maritime terroir.
The Niven Family Wine Estates’ collection includes True Myth, Tangent, Baileyana and Zocker – each showcasing a cornerstone of the Niven Family philosophy and approach to grape growing and winemaking.
True Myth pays homage to wine’s connection to Mother Earth, and showcases the best of SLO county with a Chardonnay from the Edna Valley and a Cabernet from Paso Robles.
Tangent celebrates innovation and the joys of adventure with its collection of vibrant, alternative whites that electrify the palate.
Baileyana expresses the beauty of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir grown in the special cool climate Edna Valley. Meaning “gambler” in German, the aptly named Zocker represents the pioneering spirit with a small-lot, racy Grüner Veltliner crafted from grapes unique to the region.