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Albarino grapes making great wines for summer

By Julia Jenkins, 10th June 2022

Enjoying some sunny days, a long bank holiday weekend, maybe looking for an alternative to Sauvignon Blanc – try Albarino aka Alvarinho……….

Albarino is a very distinctive aromatic white grape from Spain and is also known as Alvarinho in Portugal. It has realised great potential as a delicious match to seafood with its intense peach and apricot aromas and flavours and a balancing acidity on the palate. It is found mainly in Galicia in North West Spain where it can withstand the region’s very damp climate and in the Alentejo and Vinho Verde regions of Portugal. Galicia is famed for its seafood, and its lush green landscape with steep, terraced vineyards.

Many of the best Albarino wines are from Galicia’s region of Rias Baixas and a great example is that of Pazos de Lusco who produces a vibrant, bright, and relatively full-bodied Albariño. It has powerfully aromatic and is redolent of fresh herbs, tropical fruits and floral tones. It is dry, full and smooth on the palate with citrus notes and pineapple giving great vibrancy and zest. Pazos de Lusco is owned by Gonzalez Byass since 2016 and is 2km from the Portuguese border with 5 hectares of vines producing stylish Albarino wines.

Albarino grapes were at one time often blended with other local grapes such as Loureiro, Godello, Caino, Arinto or Treixadura to produce blended wines though it is often now appreciated on its own. It is still blended by Adegas Tollodouro Blanquito Rias Baixas that produces an Albarino that has ripe full tropical fruit & floral aromas with a smooth palate that has a full texture and a fresh apple flavour that finish with a salty crispness. A delicious style of Albarino. Tollodouro was set up in Rias Baixas in 2000 with vineyards that are very close to both the river Mino and the Atlantic, on south-facing slopes so the fruit ripens well.

Albarino is known as Alvarinho grapes grown in Portugal, producing wines that range from being dry and crisp to those that very aromatic and fruity like the Galician Albarinos.

Although many consider the finest Albarinos to come for Rias Baixas there some good ones from the Santa Ynez Valley in California and recently from Hawkes Bay in New Zealand. Here Gordon Russell at Esk Valley wines produces an Albarino, which is an aromatic, full bodied yet elegant wine full of the peachy and tropical fruit flavours for which the variety is renowned in its home in Spain and Portugal. A portion of barrel fermentation has added richness and complexity to this delicious wine. It is an unusual wine in New Zealand as the vines are still not widely grown here.

Whether you enjoy the traditional Albarinos and Alvarinhos of their native regions in Spain and Portugal or the relative newcomers from New Zealand why not try something new this spring.

 

 

 

© Archant Community Media Limited used under limited licence

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