As we are quite fond of Spanish and Portuguese wines, we have crossed ways with Albariño (or Alvarinho in Portuguese) many times. It is a variety of white grape grown in northwest Spain (Galicia) and northwest Portugal (Monção and Melgaço). The wines made from the varietal are fresh with mineral notes and high acidity. Even though the grape comes from areas that have heavy rainfall the local saying is “wine is sunlight, held together by water”. Thus, a perfect wine to enjoy during the winter to remind us of the pleasures of summer.
Major regions for Albariño include Rías Baixas of Spain and the Vinho Verde region of Portugal. It is also produced in smaller quantities in some areas of California, Los Carneiros for example (there are some awesome wines coming from here), as well as Australia. Albariño is a low yielding variety and expensive to cultivate. It is also one of the few Spanish white grape varieties produced as a varietal wine on its own and designated on labels (like Xarel.lo).
Albariño is one of those grapes where the nose of the wine can be misleading. It has a very floral aroma, similar to a Gewurztraminer or Pinot Gris. The taste is light with peach, apricot and minerals. It kind of reminds me of the notes one finds in cavas. The wines are often highly acidic with a low alcohol%. A perfect pairing with some creamy seafood (clams in white wine sauce…mmm).
Unfortunately we don’t have any Albariños in our collection. We should, I know. Perhaps our next trip will then be either to Rías Baixas or Vinho Verde. It is about time we took a trip to Portugal again. If you know any good producers, don’t be shy to leave tip in the comment box!
Have a good weekend and enjoy great wines!