Albariño

(Ahl-ba-REE-n’yo)
Synonyms: Alvarinho (Portuguese), Albarín Blanco, Cainho Branco

Wine Name: Albariño, Alvarinho, Vinho Verde,

Background: Its name, “Alba-Riño” means “the white [wine] from the Rhine”. Albariño is currently one of Spain’s most fashionable white grape varietals. It produces a light aromatic wine with apricot and white peach scents, similar to a lighter version of a Viognier. The Rias Baixas region of northwestern Spain is the best known producer. In Portugal, Alvarinho, the same grape with a different name, produces a very light, low alcohol, unripe and acidic wine called Vinho Verde (literally “green wine”). It does not have the aromatics of the Rias Baixas Albariño but it is often made with a little “frizzante”, small bubbles that give a refreshing tingle to the palate. Occasionally some red grapes are thrown in to make it a rosé or pale red color. It can be a delightful summertime wine.

Classic Brands and Sources: Spain: Agro de Bezán, Benito Santos, Bodegas Fillaboa, Bodegas Valamor, Burgans, Lagar de Cevera, Martin Codax, Quinta da Aveleda; U.S.: Artesa

Characteristics:

Style #1 – Rias Baixas

Body – light to medium

Acidity – high

Sweetness – fruity but dry

Tannins – low

Style #2 – Vinho Verde

Body – light to medium

Acidity – high

Sweetness – dry with frizzante

Tannins – low


Wine and food pairing guidelines:
pairs well with moderately acidic, light bodied dishes, saffron

Foods and Entrees that usually pair:
seafood (especially grilled and slightly spicy), Cajun flavored dishes (e.g., jambalya, creole sauces), cerviche, chorizo, paella, sushi, lemon chicken, pizza, tomato-based acidic pasta, salads, vegetable dishes

Cheese Pairings:
Feta (sheep’s milk), Garrotxa, goat cheese, Gouda, Majorero (Spanish hard goat cheese) Mahon, Murcia, Bucheron (French goat cheese), Roncal, Tetilla, dry Jack cheese, cream cheese, Neufchatel