Albarino (Alvarinho)

Albarino falls into the aromatics category of whites, and is a great mineral coastal wine bursting with stone fruit notes growing on the Iberian Peninsula

Taste Profile

Albarino 

Rich stone fruit & citrus notes, with an undertone of honeysuckle & green almond. It has a wieghty mouth feel that is dry, slightly mineral & gives zippy mouth-watering acidity. This gives Albarino the hallmarks of a beautiful afternoon drink on it's own, or with some light white fish. It is amazing with fish tacos, ceviche, oysters, or something like grilled vegetables & padron peppers. Basically anything seafood.

Most Albariño are drunk young and fresh however, due to the high acidity and phenolic structure (from the grape’s thick skins) it has incredible potential for aging. It's hardly ever oaked to retain it's freshness, but slowly you can find some rich oak aged styles with brioche like aromas. 

Winemaking Regions

Also known as Alvarinho in Portugal, Albarino is a regional grape varietal that grows on the Iberian Peninsula, on which Rias Baixas in Spain & Vinho Verde in Portugal sit. These are the 2 main "homes" of Albarino, although nowadays it's possible to find Albarino in Uruguay, California, and sometimes Chile or Argentina, driven by it's similarity with other wines like Chenin Blanc & dry Riesling.

It performs well in cool & intermediate climates, but is sensitive to rot, so it needs well draining soils like sandy or granite soils. 

Most Albarino vieyards look different, as the grapes are found hanging over your head to keep the grapes dry and rot free as they are quite sensitive. They are tiny grapes with thick skins, giving it a distinct raw-almond bitterness that you don't find commonly in other grape varietals

Rias Baixas, Spain

While Rias Baixas can be further divided into sub-regions, they all have a similar sandy, granite soil. The quality of the wines are monitored by a central body, and only those that pass can be labeled as Rias Baixas. Expect ripe tropical & stonefruit flavors like apricot, peach, and melon.

Vinho Verde, Portugal

As the cooler climate region compared to Rias Baixas, you will find that the ALbarino is more citrus forward, with lime notes replacing the stonefruit notes. The Moncao e Melgaco sub-region, which borders with Rias Baixas, grows beautiful Albarino.

Other Regions

Uruguay surprisingly has a very similar climate to the Galician coasts of Rias Baixas & Vinho Verde, leading them to make very precise, mineral driven wines. California is another region, especially San Luis Obispo, were coast fog & ocean winds help moderate the heat.