September 4, 2022

Albarino! Alvarinho! Why we love it!

Albarino or Alvarinho? Well, it depends on where you come from really it does. Same grape, different accent!

Albarino in Spain and when it crosses the border into neighbouring Portugal, it likes to be called Alvarinho. 

It is the star white wine grape of Rais Baixas in Spain’s Northwestern region of Galicia. Here especially, it takes on many expressions. From expressive fruity whites to oaked versions with plenty of fleshy savouriness. In fact, you can even find some distilled versions if you know where to look. Pazo Senoransdoes a couple of those which I am keen to try one day.

In the far northern reaches of Portugal, it can be made into Vinho Alvarinho as a slightly riper and slightly bigger version in Vinho Verde. Although it is not unusual in Galician vineyards as well, in the Vinho Verde region they make use of pergolas to grow their vines. This tends to allow high yields, and slightly lower potential alcohol levels.

These grapes do well on poor soils such as throughout Galicia, and particularly Rais Baixas. Sandy soils, or those of decomposing granite which you may find referred to as Xabre.

However, it is not all about Spain and Portugal!

It was also the star in a scandal not of its making in Australia. I remember in 2008 tasting these wines that winemakers had planted as Albarino. It was that year that these winemakers discovered that what they actually had planted was Savagnin. A French grape from the alpine regions, notably Jura. You can find Australian Albarino though, and it is well worth exploring (as is some of the Savagnin offerings).

Albarino is also grown in New Zealand, France, USA & Uruguay.

What does it taste like?

Albarino can be dry (around 1 g/l residual sugar) through to off dry. It is very often intensely fruity, showing fragrant aromas and flavours of lemon, grapefruit, apricot, pear and peach. Maybe even jasmine. Sometimes it will take on a mineral savouriness. Generally, it is medium to fuller body, with fuller bodied styles often being matured in oak. 

What do you match this wine with?

The grape does tend to be grown on the coastal area of Spain. So, it undoubtedly makes sense that this grape will be a natural match for seafood. White fish, lobster, scallops, octopus is just the start. 

Even so, don’t restrict your imagination!

A quiche, frittata or tortilla works just as well. Salty haloumi served up as tapas or on a salad is a delicious foil for that intense fruitiness. Equally if you love any type of green leaf salad, this grape is a great choice, particularly if you spruce it up with some pear, or apple slices and nuts.

Of course, chicken will be also a very good match.

A couple of recommendations

Fresh & fruity

A classic Albarino d’Efinane  – a wine with a long history that reflects more of the pure fruited style. Fresh, fruity with a good balance and suppleness. (click here for the review)

Albarino de fefinane

Savoury yet floral

A fleshy version from Pazo Senoras that has more noticeable creamy flavours and texture thanks to some careful lees work. Complex yet delightfully perfumed still. (click here for the review)

To find out more, please visit riasbaixaswines.com.

Categories

Looking for a something specific, please use search:

You May Also Like…

Sparkling reds & why you should be drinking of them!

Sparkling reds & why you should be drinking of them!

Love bubbles? Love red wine? Did you know that you can have the best of both worlds with Australia's sparkling reds … Red bubbles? .... Still going strong! I am not talking about the many shades of ‘pink’ bubbles. Of course, I am not talking about the magic of making...

Two cheap reds from Sainsbury’s

Two cheap reds from Sainsbury’s

Want to know what Sainsbury's reds are good to go for around a fiver. Recently, I went on a shopping expedition to find out what I could buy from Sainsbury’s for around a fiver and here are two that I picked up. With the cost of living beginning to hit the prices on...

Muse Media: Porch.com Starting & Stocking a Wine Cellar

Muse Media: Porch.com Starting & Stocking a Wine Cellar

Catch my contribution to Porch recently about the conditions for cellaring wines in the link below. There are some great tips from around the world in that article. https://porch.com/advice/starting-stocking-wine-cellar-home-right Here is a handy hint though on...

0 Comments

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *