Imagine that you’re about to take a bite out of a marzipan tart topped with fresh peaches while sitting outdoors at a beachside café. This combination of seductive aromatics is what you’ll experience when you taste Albariño, a crisp white wine from Spain that is becoming a hit with wine lovers worldwide.
Albariño is produced in Spain’s Galicia region, and it’s distinguishing itself as a single-varietal wine comparable to Sauvignon Blanc, Gewürztraminer, and Riesling. It should be noted that Albariño also grows in northern Portugal, where it’s know as Alvarinho.
If you’re a white wine lover who can do without heavy, oaky aromas, Spanish Albariño’s zesty acidity and citrus and stone fruit flavors may appeal to your palate. Because the grape is naturally aromatic, unlike Chardonnay, you don’t need extensive oak contact to build character.
The types of flavors and aromatics you’ll get from Albariño depend on how ripe the grapes are when they’re picked. Galicia, which is where some of Spain’s finest Albariño is produced under the Rias Baixas DO, is a wet region, not unlike our Pacific Northwest. Less ripe Albariño displays grapefruit and lemon zest aromas, along with an earthy, almost beachy minerality. Riper grapes will bring out the peach and stone fruit flavors. The almond and marzipan notes come from brief oak aging.
Food lovers will appreciate Albariño’s versatility when it comes to pairing. This is a wine that is as comfortable with shellfish and pasta dishes as it is with roasted chicken, salads, and your favorite tapas.
Next, what you’ll want to know when choosing an Albariño...