Albariño is a hard wine to produce due to it being a tiny grape with thick skins. However, that hasn’t stopped Albariño from having some of the oldest living vines, which are a little over 300 years old. This is an even greater feat because of how susceptible Albariño is to mildew and rot, which is why the vines are trellised overhead on pergolas to keep them dry and rot free. Known for its notes of lemon zest, grapefruit, honeydew, nectarine, and salinity, Albariño pairs fantastically with fish tacos, grilled shishito peppers, and soft cheeses like burrata.
Mainly grown in Spain and Portugal, small quantities of Albariño can also be found in California, Uruguay, and Australia. With a little over 13,000 hectares dedicated to Albariño, Rías Baixas, Spain accounts for about 70% of Albariño’s production. Their Albariños tend to have notes of apricot, melon, peach, and honeysuckle. Whereas Vinho Verde, Portugal accounts for about 20% of Albariño’s production with less than half of the hectares as Spain. Known as Alvarinho in Portugal, their Albariño wines offer notes of honeydew, lime, lemon, and grapefruit.
Whet your whistle with these Albariño wines:
Grape Photo Courtesy of UC Davis