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The Albariño
Wine Grape:

A Refreshing Alternative
from Spain

Albarino Wine Grape

Albariño is a white wine from Spain that's a light and refreshing alternative if you find yourself tiring of the typical Chardonnay and Sauv Blanc. Light in alcohol with zesty acidity, Albariño can by recognized by its characteristic fragrant aroma reminiscent of peaches and apricots.

The History of Albariño

The earliest known references to Albariño trace back to the 12th century in Iberia, Spain. The name Albariño is believed to be a combination of 'alba' (white) and 'Rino' (meaning from the Rhine), leading to speculation that the grape variety was brought into Spain from Alsace or Germany and may be related to Riesling.

Qualities of the Albariño Grape

Thick-skinned, the Albariño grape is able to withstand high-levels of humidity and moisture during the growing season. It also can grow in relatively cool climates, like coastal regions, where high temperatures in the summer rarely break out of the 80's. If grown in a wetter climate, careful trellissing and pruning are key to ensure good ventilation for the bunches. The wine is generally aged in stainless steel rather than in oak barrels to preserve the purity of its flavor and aroma.

Albariño Wine Characteristics

Body: light to medium
Acidity: medium to high
Flavors: fruit-forward and clean, with fresh notes of peach and apricot as well as a complex minerality. Very fragrant.

Regions Where Albariño is Grown

- In Spain, in Galicia in the northwest part of the country. Rias Baixas is the best known region for producing Albariño.
- In Portugal, in Vinho Verde, although only permitted in two regions (
Monção and Melgaço). It is grown in some other areas, but is mostly used in blends.
 - In California, some vineyards are starting to experiment with plantings, including the coastal Carneros area and the Santa Ynez Valley.
- Australia also added plantings in the late '80's, but these were discovered in 2009 to be a different varietal, Savagnin, and not actually Albariño!

Albariño Fast Facts

- Bottled by varietal name, unless part of a blend
- Called Albariño in Spain, or Alvarinho in Portugal

- Famous Producers: Martín Códax, Burgans, Lagar de Cervera
- Not a wine that's designed for aging - best enjoyed while young

Albariño Wine & Food Pairing

- Pairs excellently with seafood and shellfish, especially mussels and clams, as well as chicken and light pork dishes. The lively acidity helps the wine pair well even with tangy or spicy sauces.

Easy Food & Wine Recipes Paired with Albarino

- Pork Potstickers with Ginger-Scallion Sauce

Our Top Albarino Picks

2011 La Cana Albariño, Rias Baixas
Zesty with hints of candied lemon. Freshly crisp, with a tang that makes your mouth water. ($17)

2011 Burgans Albarino, Rias Baixas
Tropical aroma with hints of pineapple and an effusive floral note. Refreshing, clean and utterly drinkable. ($14)
Buy at Wine.com  

2011 Martín Códax Albariño, Rias Baixas
Bright and aromatic, with ripe apple and a touch of minerality and
spice that adds complexity. ($19)
Buy at Wine.com  

 
Next Variety:
  Chardonnay Wine Grape

 



 

 


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