Most Popular White Wine in Spain
The albarino grape originates in Galicia, misty land of the ancient Celts.
Located in the lushly green and hilly northwest corner of Spain, Galicia
is a land heavily reliant on the fishing industry. The climate here is
greatly influenced by the Atlantic Ocean, with wet and chilly winters,
dry summers, and high humidity—perfect conditions for growing certain
white grape varieties, such as Albarino. The grape also grows a bit farther south,
in Portugal, where it is known as "alvarinho."
Albarino grapes are small and very sweet with unusually thick skins, which
help the fruit tolerate the damp climate and also contribute to the acidity
and flavor that characterize Albarino wine.
Though the albarino grape can be blended (and it often is!), only wine
made from 100% albarino grapes can bear the label “Albarino wine.” Most
of the Albarino wine hails from the Rias Baixas D.O. (Denominacion de Origen,
which basically means that it's a Spanish controlled appellation). The Rias Baixas
is located in the southern part of Galicia, along the jagged Atlantic coast
characterized by deep inlets of seawater called rias. Albarino grapes make up
roughly ninety percent of the plantings in the Rias Baixas D.O.
Albarino Tasting Notes
Fresh! Albarino wine is crisp and fragrant, with a virtual shopping cart of flavors
and aromas: melon, pear, peach, tropical fruit, flowers. In the glass, the wine
appears pale gold or straw-colored, often with tinges of green.
of Albarino wine often gives it an astringent, or “cleansing” quality, which
enables the wine to pair especially well with spicy foods.
And, here's a bonus: Albarino wine is a great value for the dollar. One can
easily find an excellent-quality wine for around ten to fifteen dollars per bottle.
Pair it with Food: Uncork a bottle to pour with tonight’s dinner, for Albarino
wine also drinks wonderfully with food. Though albarino pairs quite nicely
with chicken dishes, this wine particularly shines with Asian dishes and with
seafood—especially shellfish (hardly surprising, given its Galician origin).
You'll find that the fresh acidity of albarino wine complements most tangy,
spicy dishes. Try it next time you get Asian take-out. Have it with paella,
a Spanish rice dish that often includes spicy chorizo sausage, tomatoes,
and seafood. Or pair a chilled Albarino with a simple sautéed shrimp, made
piquant with ginger, garlic and tomatoes.