Galicia, in the northwest corner of Spain, is known as “Green Spain,” a reference to the lush vegetation that covers the countryside. It's also home to the fresh white wine Albariño. Water is abundant in this region that is crisscrossed by rivers, including the Avia, Lérez, Miño, and Sil, and frequent rains and overcast skies only add to the brilliant hues of the forests and vineyards that thrive here.
Seafood is featured in restaurants and at home, pulled from the area’s network of rivers and estuaries and from the nearby Atlantic Ocean. Wine grapes have been grown here for 2,000 years; the most popular is Albariño, thought to have been brought here by French monks in the 12th century. The Rias Baixas DO is the home of Albariño, a white grape with bright citrus notes and floral aromatics that is perfect with fish and shellfish. Many are made only in stainless steel or with just a short time in oak barrels to keep the accent on the fresh fruit flavors. Here are our favorites.
Bodegas Castro Martin A2O Albariño “Sobre Lias” 2012 (left): With rich mouthfeel and bracing acidity, this wine has brilliant flavors of nectarine and Granny Smith apple with just a whiff of honeysuckle. Great as an aperitif or serve with escabeche.
Bodegas Fillaboa Albariño 2012: Made with only estate-grown grapes, this Albariño is a little bit creamy in the mouth, with flavors of pineapple and citrus. Seafood is a natural with this, but it will also pair well with chicken or pork.
Serra da Estrela Albariño 2012: Bright apple and floral aromas lead the way into flavors of pear and jasmine. Enjoy with camarones or with paella.
Mar de Frades 2012 (right): When it is cold enough to serve, a blue boat appears on the thermo sensitive label. Flavors of citrus and lemon grass with a touch of salinity make this a great choice with scallops.
Martin Codax Burgans Albariño Rias Baixas 2011: Mouth-pleasing flavors of Clementine and melon make this a strong candidate to pair with oysters on the half shell or shrimp cocktail with spicy salsa.
Condes de Albarei Albariño 2012: Intense flavors of honeydew melon and lime with a nice vein of minerality go hand in hand with the briny goodness of clams on the half shell.
Paco & Lola Albariño 2013 (left): Its distinctive black and white polka dot label lets you know you are in for a good time when you open a bottle of Paco & Lola. Flavors of peach and pear go nicely with ceviche.