Albariño/Alvarinho

Origin: Known as Albariño in Spain and Alvarinho in Portugal. Completely unrelated to Albarin though (another Spanish variety)

Grown: Spain (Rías Baixas) and Portugal (Minho, Vino Verde)

Climate: Mediterranean climate. High humidity but the grapes naturally thick skin helps against that

Soil: Mainly grown on alluvial soil

Viticulture: Will often benefit from skin maceration and long cool fermentations, that really helps to bring out the delicate flavour of the variety. Mainly sold young, but there are some barrel aged examples out there

Regional names to look for on label:

  • Rías Baixas DO
  • Vino Verde DOC

General Personality:

  • Colour: The names, both in Spanish and Portuguese relates to the word for white. Which is a good indication for the pale bright colour of the Albariño wine
  • Aromas: Lemon, citrus blossom, jasmin, nectarine, peach, saline
  • Taste and Texture: High acidity, medium body, sometimes a bit sparkling in Vino Verde
  • Conclusion: A bright and crisp wine, generally with a pronounced floral note that keeps it from becoming boring. Amazing on its own or with something salty and fatty, where the wine gets to act like a lemon wedge
  • Future: Some exceptions, but generally a wine to drink young. The charm of the vine is it fresh, delicate fruit aroma

Food pairings:

  • General: Albariño would always be a safe bet to bring to any seafood party
  • Obvious pairing: Sushi
    Works well with ginger and as long as you do not over portion your wasabi, you cannot really go wrong with this combination. Avocado, tofu, daikon and other traditional vegan sushi all works great, and if you have any fish eaters at your table, they will not be disappointed either
  • On the wild side: Banana Blossom “Fish” Taco
    Have you tried it?! Banana blossom? It is this amazing substitute for you out there missing your fried fish. And with some kelp or nori mixed in, it really tastes like fried fish. Try this recipe and be blown away! The crisp acidity in the Albariño can easily stand up to the pickles and the slaw. Be a bit careful with the hot sauce though