Albarino

The great Spanish white wine success of the late 20th and early 21st century has been albariño from this region in Galicia, in far northwestern Spain. Local legend has it that German pilgrims to the Galician shrine of Santiago de Compostela brought cuttings of riesling vines from their homeland and planted it here, where it developed into albariño, but this has never been proven. (Some scientists think it is related to petit manseng, one of the grapes of Jurançon in southwestern France.) The grape is certainly high in terpenes, the compounds that give the perfumey aromas to grapes like riesling, muscat, gewürztraminer, and Argentina's torrontés, and the best of the wines is produces balance this character with aromas and flavors of citrus and almonds, outlined with bright acidity. Under the name alvarinho, it is a popular grape in Portugal, often blended with other varieties. Small quantities of albariño are made in California (the best is from the Santa Ynez Valley). Wines labeled as albariño were made in Australia recently, but genetic analysis proved that the grapes used were actually mislabeled savagnin, from the Savoie region of France.

Serve With

Clams and oysters, sea urchin and gooseneck barnacles, lobster and other crustaceans, sardines, garlicky shrimp or squid dishes, all fish, pasta with seafood or cream sauces, or white pizza.