In a nutshell: An impressive magnum of this benchmark Rias Baixas Albariño that comes in a distinctive blue bottle and which really looks the business.
The lowdown: While the eyecatching colour of the bottle may have gained more attention the wine inside this is certainly not a wine to be underestimated. Mar de Frades take their winemaking seriously and they produce some of the best examples of albariño to come out of Galicia. This is packed full of tropical aromas and wild flower fragrance while on the palate there's a fresh, slightly saline touch and a firm minerality. The layered finish displays, again, its rich tropicality and crisp citrus character.
When to drink: A, quite simply, zesty and refreshing wine that cries out to be paired with grilled, fried or barbecued fish and shellfish - it's also pretty good all by itself.
Bodegas Mar de Frades, which means Sea of Friars in the local Galego language, is based in Galicia, north west Spain, a few kilometres the town of Pontevedra, in the heart of Albarinño country. Indeed Mar de Frades, which was established in 1987, has been very closely bound up with the development and current popularity of Rias Baixas as a wine region and the area's signature grape variety.
With 60 hectares of their own they are one of the largest vineyard owners in the region and in addition they purchase grapes from 150 smalll growers comprising a further 90 hectares. All this makes them one of the biggest players in Rias Baixas. The winemaker here is native Galician Paula Fandiño, who joined the company in 2007 and, as well as producing benchmark albariño, is constantly looking at further developments and improvements. She's responsible for the region's first sparkling albariño and has recently successfully introduced the godello grape to region. One of the winery's main trade marks is the use distinctive blue bottles and temperature sensitive 'thermochromic' labels which indicate when the wine is at the correct temperature for serving.
Whether, or not, you consider some of their introductions a bit gimmicky there's certainly no underestimating the quality of their wines.