CONSIDERED one of the best wines for seafood, Albariño can also be an excellent aperitif.
High quality and light bodied, most of the Spanish Albariño wines are labelled from Rias Baixas in the cooler and wetter area of Galicia that has sandy granite soils ideal for this grape.
In Galician, the name comes from albar, albo, meaning ‘white, whitish.’
However, Albariño is also grown in Portugal and has additionally started to spread to the West Coast of USA, South America and New Zealand, with the grapes similar in taste to Pinot Gris, Chenin Blanc, and dry Riesling.
Believed to have been brought to Iberia from France by Cluny monks in the 12th century, Albariño is light with alcohol levels of 11.5-12.5 per cent.
With a strong aromatic intensity it is loved for its high acidity, refreshing citrus flavours (lemons, limes, pear, grapefruit, honeysuckle, nectarine, apricot and mango), dry taste, and slight saltiness.
To maintain its acidity and fruity aromas it is best consumed one to two years after the vintage, although Albariño wines are known to age for five to seven years.
As well as complementing seafood, its acidity and slight bitterness works well alongside white meats and with citrus and/or aromatic herb dishes, and it is also fun to experiment Albariño with Vietnamese and Thai cuisine.
Moderately priced labels (€3 – 7) are produced by Xovial; Bardesano; Freixas; Pazo das Estrelas by Lagar de Cervera and Vagalume by Luzada Xil.