We've long been admirers of the Albariño (pronounced "All-bar-een-yo") grape varietal, perhaps most famous for the wines it produces -- floral and characterized by peach and apricot fruit notes -- in the Rías Baixas DO (Denominación de Origen) region of Galicia, near the Atlantic Ocean in the northwest of Spain. August 1 is International Albariño Day, so we've asked our wine writer friends in Australia, Canada, and the United States to share some of their favorites with us. Both delicious and unique, we hope you will seek these and other Albarinños out all week, every week, and all summer. Cheers, and thanks to Advinetures, Crushed Grape Chronicles, and Travelling Corkscrew for writing these great tasting notes with us! If you're not already following these thoughtful wine folk, you should be. Make sure you spend some time with Travelling Corkscrew's 101 on Albariño to learn more about these great wines.
2014 Laxas Albariño (Rías Baixas, Spain)
We discovered Albariño on a trip to Spain a few years ago. Our only regret is not discovering this varietal sooner! It is the main grape used to make white wine in Northern Spain’s Rías Baixas region. It’s typically a refreshing white that is the perfect accompaniment to a hot, sunny afternoon and, like much of Spain’s offerings, also very good value. Bodegas As Laxas is one of the better producers that we are able to access here in Canada and this has become one of our go-to summer wines this year. Light yellow in colour with apple, melon, and lemon zest on the nose, the body has a plush texture that is superbly balanced with great acidity. If you haven’t discovered Albariño yet, this is a white wine lover’s delight!
2014 Bodegas La Caña Albariño (Rías Baixas, Spain)
These vineyards for this wine are located in the village of Sisan Ribadumia. This is the North west part of the Rías Baixas in Val do Salnés, close to the Atlantic Ocean. It is the birthplace of Albariño. The Vineyards are over 50 years old and are arranged in a beautiful pergola system, which keeps the grapes off the ground and allows plenty of air circulation to limit moisture buildup and prevent mildew. 80% of this wine is fermented in Stainless and 20 percent in French Oak puncheons. It rests 8 months on the lees before bottling. I found this wine intriguing from the first time I dipped my nose in the glass, with beeswax, peach and nectarine on the nose and citrus blossoms late in day on a hot and humid day. On the palate it was dry and comfortably round. This wine is not bright and sharp, but rather comes across like a beautiful watercolor painting, the colors melding and blending softly as they seep into the paper. This perhaps is because it sits on the lees for 8 months. This wine also won’t break the bank at around $20.
2013 Pazo Barrantes (Rías Baixas, Spain)
Yellow shade with a golden tinge to it on the eye. Notes of minerality emerge from the glass with hints of melon, botanicals, and pink grapefruit. In the mouth it awakens the taste buds and palate with refreshing acidity followed by notes of apples and nectarines, and ending with a plate cleansing sea-salt beach-y finish.
2015 Delaplane Cellars Mélange Blanc (Virginia, USA)
The opportunity to add some Albariño that is both presented in a white blend and (unusually) from Virginia in the United States has proven irresistible. The 2015 edition of this perennial mainstay in the Delaplane Cellars lineup is 50% Vidal Blanc, 20% Albariño (surprise!), with the rest filled out by Viognier and Petit Manseng. So while the Albariño is not the primary driver of this wine, we were struck by how a mere 20% of it makes its mark. We're here to explore! You'll be surprised by the butter popcorn elements in the nose. The Albariño adds nice creaminess to the sweet qualities introduced by the Vidal Blanc and the Petit Manseng. The finish is fuller than we expected. Much of that is actually driven by the Albariño itself.