The Antidote to Boring Wine: Albariño from Rias Baixas

From by Wanda Mann
The Antidote to Boring Wine: Albariño from Rias Baixas

Rias Baixas 1
Should someone offer you a glass of Albariño from Rias Baixas; say and give that person a kiss because they clearly have great taste in wine. Vibrant and expressive, the Albariño grape is indigenous to the Rias Baixas region of Galicia in northwest Spain. Galicia is often known as "Green Spain" because of its verdant coastal landscape and Rias Baixas means "Lower Rias" in the Galician language.

1image courtesy of Rias Baixas wines

image courtesy of Rias Baixas wines

Local legend poetically proclaims that the four estuaries located on the southwestern coast that form the Rias Baixas are the traces left by God's fingers when he rested for a moment in Galicia. Believing the legend may be a question of faith but there is no denying the fact that Rias Baixas has a cool climate and mineral-rich soils that enable the indigenous Albariño grape to thrive. The vineyards of Rias Baixas are divided into five sub-zones with unique micro-climates. Albariño from Rias Baixas often displays beautiful aromas of green apple, honeysuckle, citrus, ripe melon, peach, pear and apricot. On the palate, Albariño perks up your taste buds with vibrant acidity and minerality and can range in style from crisp and dry to soft and peachy, and even earthy. Albariño is a white wine with personality!

Rias Baixas with Curate Tapas
Rias Baixas Albariño paired with a Blue Point Oyster, White Asparagus, and Braised Pork in an apricot Albariño sauce. Pairings created by Chef Katie Button and wine director Felix Meana of Heirloom Hospitality. 

 A refreshing sip on its own, Albariño is also incredibly food-friendly. I was deliciously reminded of the wine's versatility at a recent tasting of Albariño from Rias Baixas paired with food prepared by acclaimed Chef Katie Button of Cúrate tapas bar in Asheville, North Carolina.

  Katie and Felix Curate
Chef Katie Button and her husband Felix Meana (wine director) share a passion for the food & wine of Spain.

A scientist by training, Katie's passion for cooking led her to the kitchens of the world famous elBulli in Catalunya and to ThinkFoodGroup with Chef José Andrés. Her culinary journey crossed paths with that of Spaniard Felix Meana and now this married couple works together - Felix is the Director of Beverage and Service for the couple's Heirloom Hospitality Group. I can't guarantee that Albariño will bring more romance to your life but you are almost certain to love this wine. I recommend the three wines listed below to begin your exploration of Albariño from Rias Baixas. Cheers!

Bodegas La ValBodegas La Val 2014 ($17)
Lively flavors of crisp green apples with a hint of salinity and great minerality.

Santiago Roma Albarino
Santiago Roma 2014 ($11)
Refreshing flavors of grapefruit with a hint of sweetness and tart green apple, lemon, and green herbs.

Senorio de Rubios Albarino

Señorío de Rubiós Robaliño Albariño 2015 ($18)
Seductively aromatic, the first sip is like biting into a fresh peach quickly followed by a vivacious burst of grapefruit and almond.



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