Albariño: all you need to know about this delicious Galician white wine
Albariño is one of the main white grape varieties of Portugal, so much so that it is essential for the production of the famous Vinho Verde.
We tell you right away that the origins of this vine are controversial and the paternity is disputed between Spain and Portugal. In any case, its elective homeland, where it reaches its peak (and finds incredible harmony with the local cuisine) is Galicia.
But let’s get to the wine, why is there so much excitement about Albariño? It is very simple, this wine is a rock star, a real wild card suitable for all occasions: it is acidic and sharp, salty like the sea, and endowed with an irresistible fruity vivacity, in which apricots dominate. Despite being a wine of medium structure and a certain thickness, it has a delicate and subtle taste, it is not a bomb or a cheeky aromatic wine like the Gewurztraminer, but above all it is always drinkable, flowing, however never banal. A little trivially, it is often compared to Viognier by assonance of aromas: lemon, apricot, lavender, and that decadent touch of ripe apricots, but in reality, Viognier is much more aromatic, full and alcoholic, so in intensity, they are not comparable. Remember Viognier distantly as perfumes, here, we could say so.
Albariño style and vinification
As mentioned, it focuses on freshness, agility, and salinity, so it rarely does aggressive aging in wood. Its acid qualities tend to be enhanced, without covering it with an unscrupulous use of the barrique. Of course, it is aged both in steel and in wood, but do not expect it to have aromas of vanilla, tobacco, and other spices given by the wood. It is not even remotely related to Chardonnay, it cannot bear a too demanding refinement in the Chablis style, we are in a completely different tone. However, its salty and acid thickness allows it to aspire to a certain life in the cellar. It is not uncommon to find 6-7-year-old Albariños who have developed a certain very intriguing evolution.
Having said that, it is clear that with these characteristics so easy, it is a wine to drink young or to leave a few years in the cellar, but do not think that it aspires to retirement.
Here, to give you an idea of wine, don’t think of the great French whites, but of another great son of the sea like Vermentino, which remembers it, albeit distantly for its flavor characteristics.
Organoleptic characteristics of Albariño
The nose offers a splendid intertwining of yellow fruit with apricots in great evidence, gooseberries, salt, iodine, algae, rocks, and memories of chamomile, lavender, and acacia. Variety is decent, but don’t expect a flurry of scents. The ones he has are suggestive and well defined, but it ends there.
In the mouth it is explosive, direct, at times even rude due to the concentration of salt and lemon, however, it has a crazy rhythm, impossible to resist such drinkability. The structure is there, it is not a dull wine, on the contrary, the skeleton that forms its structure is well sculpted in a block of salt, but in terms of alcohol we are not at stellar levels, quite the contrary. Persistence and a long finish with traces of graceful flowers.
Serving temperature of Albariño
Being a very fresh and salty white, enhance its angularity with a temperature between 8 and 10 degrees.
Suggested food pairings for Albariño
All Galician cuisine was born to make love with this wine: seafood, tapas, anchovies, Galician pulpo, but it’s great also with a simple carbonara.