The lush coastal town of Galicia in north west Spain is home to this increasingly popular grape. But what is Albariño? And why is it the summer white del día?
Some grapes have an overwhelming connection to their place (some in the wine industry call this terroir), and Albariño is one of those grapes.
90% of vineyards in Rías Baixas (the area around Galicia) grow the Albariño grape, and you can see why. The conditions are absolutely perfect for this variety, and the resulting wines are crisp and refreshing. Grown in the surprisingly green and cool Rías Baixas right on the Atlantic, you can almost taste the salty sea air in the finished wines. With rocky, granite soil, and misty green hillsides, the wines are also intensely stony and mineral.
London Cru’s Albariño, Albemarle St, is from a coastal vineyard near beautiful traditional Galician town Pontevedra, in the heart of Rías Baixas.
Albariño is aromatic, with concentrated stone fruit and citrus flavours alongside grassy, mineral overtones. With moderate alcohol and high acidity, it is the perfect summer white.
Some winemakers choose to ferment and age in stainless steel, giving the freshest, leanest style of Albariño. However, it is also common to give Albariño some time ageing in an oak barrel to add texture, or leaving it to develop on its lees (leftover yeast cells from fermentation). Both of these techniques offset the high acidity, providing mouth feel and a subtle creamy character.
Galicia is home to a large proportion of Spain’s fishing fleet, so it is no surprise that their star white wine pairs wonderfully with fresh shellfish and grilled fish.
The wine’s high acidity will help to cut through butter or cream sauces, and blends perfectly with sharp, citrus flavours.
Best enjoyed with a plate of Dover Sole with brown butter, or a 'plateau de fruits de mer’. Both with plenty of lemon and black pepper.