What is Albariño?
In Spain, Albariño is one of wine’s new kids on the block. Twenty years ago it was little known – it was only in 1986 that the Rias Baixas denomination of origin was set up in Galicia, in the north west. Prices rose rapidly as it became the smart drink in Madrid. Now there are more vineyards in production and prices have come down. It will never be a cheap wine – in the damp, cool climate of Galicia it’s not easy to get the grapes to ripen. That accounts for Albariño’s delicious acidity, which makes it excellent with fish and seafood.
In Portugal, Alvarinho (as it is known) has long been a contributor to Vinho Verde. This is the classic slightly spritzy wine, which fell out of fashion along with Chianti in straw-wrapped bottles and Mateus rosé (another Portuguese speciality). In the last few years, some top quality Vinho Verdes are being produced with a zesty grapefruit character, and bright acidity.
Colour: white; pale with hints of green
Body: medium bodied
Tastes include: aromas of white peaches, with a brisk, firm, freshness in the mouth
AKA: Alvarinho (in Portugal, where it is used in Vinho Verde)
Often blended with: with Loureiro in Vinho Verde, and several other white grapes
Spotter’s guide: On holiday? Find it in Spain, Rias Baixas, Galicia; Portugal, Vinho Verde
Keep or drink? Drink it young, fresh and cold
Price range: £5.99-£12.99