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Facts on Albariño

Albariño has been touted by many to be the premier white grape to come out of Spain (a country that is more renowned for its red wines than its whites). 

But having got off to a little false start here in Australia, it is less well known than varieties such as Fiano, Vermentino or even Grüner Veltliner.

This anonymity gives it the advantage of causing a positive surprise when people try it for the first time, and believe me when I say, there is lots to like about this Spanish export!

In Australia

The relationship between Australia and Albariño didn’t start well. That false start I mentioned above was to do with the fact we planted the incorrect variety!

In 2009, with the excitement around Albariño growing, a visiting French ampelographer, Jean-Michel Boursiquot commented that he suspected our Albariño vines were something else.

Subsequent testing revealed that Australian vignerons had planted Savagnin, a grape most closely associated with the Jura region of France. The mix-up was caused when Spanish authorities supplied the wrong propagating material to the CSIRO.

Currently less than 25 wineries around the country have Albaiño in the ground with regions as far stretched as the Barossa, Hunter and Adelaide having small plantings.

In Spain

The home of Albariño is Galicia in the north-west corner of the country. It is best known as being the key grape variety in the Rias Baixas DO, where it makes full-flavoured white wines with peach, citrus and mineral characters that pair perfectly with the local seafood. 

Albariño constitutes more than 90 percent of the grapes planted in the Rias Baixas area, where the complex mesoclimates within this DO signify the many different sub-regions and variations between vintages and vineyards.

Did you know? 

Albariño is also planted across the border in the northern Portuguese region of Minho. There it is known as Alvarinho – a name many argue is the correct one for the variety. 

Alvarinho grapes are used to make the Portuguese wine Vinho Verde – a low alcohol, light and tart white wine that normally has a little spritz!

Characters

Albariño is a quick ripening variety, but one that offers great flavour weight and refreshing acidity off a lighter frame.

The wines can be on a scale anywhere from light and zippy to fuller bodied and with a creamy texture if winemaking artefact like oak and lees aging is used.

Peach, citrus fruits and a slight saline note are classic characters.

Food Matching

Hailing from a region so heavily influenced by the sea and with a slight salty twang, it makes perfect sense that Albariño goes so well with all types of seafood.

In addition, it would be superb with white cheese and vegetable based rice dishes such as paella.

Check out our delicious range of Albariño here. 

Wine
Words by
Adam Walls
Photography by
Hendrika Stekhoven-Smith
Published on
15 Jan 2020

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