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August 01, 2019
When She Asks for Sauv Blanc
Hailing from the Iberian Peninsula’s maritime coast, Albariño (alba-reen-yo) is the flagship wine of Galicia and the frequent guest star in Portugal’s fizzy and chuggable Vinho Verde. The heart of Spain’s Albariño production is found in Rías Biaxas, a wine region spanning the northwest coastline. These green-skinned grapes make for highly approachable wines with serious finesse. Albarino’s tend to be dry and racy with a bit of salinity, distinguished further by notes of citrus, stone fruit, and floral aromatics.
Fresh, crisp, and refreshing (think Sauv Blanc’s fun cousin), Albariño’s are made to be drunk like a Rías Biaxas local, with as much sunshine and seafood as you can come by. Light-bodied and acidic, Albariño’s can also take their fair share of of heat; they make a great pair to Thai curries and spicy fish stews. And don’t let these bottles collect any dust as Albariño is best enjoyed young, typically within 2 years after harvest.
The cat’s out of the bag… Albariño rocks! It’s popularity has soared over the past few decades, making it’s way onto wine lists everywhere. In Rías Biaxas, the number of vineyards have grown from 33 at it’s DO inception in 1988, to hundreds today. Albariño production has also found it’s way to the West Coast, popping up in both California and the Pacific Northwest. These stateside Albariño’s tend to be a bit riper than Galician grapes, while still showing notes of minerality and citrus aromatics.
There’s certainly a lot to love about Albariño, and lucky for us, we have enough of it to last the summer. Check out some of our favorites below.
Bodegas Zarate 2018 Albarino, Rías Biaxas DO
Fresh, fruity and balanced, with persisting minerality that upholds the integrity of Bodega Zarate’s mineral-rich, yellow granite soil. This is a fantastic Albariño. A fresh sea salt nose blends with citrus and a hint of anise spice.
Pazo Do Mar 2018 ‘Castelo do Mar’ Albarino, Rías Biaxas DO
A single vineyard estate Albariño to write home about. ‘Castelo do Mar’ opens with notes of honeysuckle, lemons and peaches. Aromatic and just dry enough, with a super concentrated finish. This Albariño is screaming for some ceviche, but will also pair great with grilled chicken, flaky white fish and spicy curries.
Ransom 2017 Albarino, Willamette Valley
Jump stateside for this Oregon Albariño. Ransom’s 2017 Albariño opens with fresh and vibrant aromatics of Meyer lemon and wildflower honey. On the palate, acid-driven flavors of lemon pastille and Asian pear complement layers of minerality and sur lie creaminess. The wine finishes with nerve and great energy.
Bodegas Albamar 2018 ‘Albamar’ Albarino, Rías Biaxas DO
Push me right into this minerally glass full of honey, citrus and stone fruit. Albamar’s 2018 vintage opens with killer aromatics reminiscent of a grilled prawn paella and sunshine filled Rías Biaxas vacation we haven’t taken yet. Peaches and pear, orange zest and beeswax.