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Albariño, known as Alvarinho in Portugal, is one of the most versatile white wine grapes. It can produce very different wines depending on the growing region and climatic conditions. In Portugal it is used as the base for Vinho Verde. In Spain, Albariño is known for producing highly sought-after fine wines which are exported all over the world. Australia, New Zealand and the USA have also discovered this variety.
The Albariño variety is one of the most versatile white wine grapes.

Goes with: fish, seafood, paella

Albariño translates as “the white wine from the Rhine”, which is no doubt why it was long thought that this variety was related to Riesling. It is actually a descendent of Traminer, and according to recent findings it is more likely to be related to Sauvignon blanc, Pinot blanc or Petit Manseng. The Albariño grape variety probably came to Galicia sometime between the 11th and 13th centuries with German or French monks on pilgrimage on the Camino de Santiago. It took to the fertile damp climate of this region and soon spread further to the neighbouring northern part of Portugal.

Where the Albariño grape grows

The Albariño grape variety plays a major role above all in the Rías Baixas wine region of Galicia where it is planted over 1,300 hectares. This region punctuated by river estuaries where rainfall and sunshine hours are perfectly in balance provides the perfect climate for white wine. Owing to the high humidity, the grapes are mostly trained on pergolas. The best single-varietal Albariños come from a part of Galicia where granite soils predominate. The wines produced there are among the best and most expensive Spanish white wines.
This grape variety known as Alvarinho in Portuguese is also planted in Monção in northern Portugal, where it flourishes on pergolas over an area of approximately 1,800 hectares. Along with Loureiro, it is a blending component of Vinho Verde. The grapes also grow extremely well in the Douro. The wines made with Albariño in this region are distinguished by their characterful freshness and precision.Other countries have discovered this grape variety too. As well as in Australia and New Zealand, it is grown in northern California where it further benefits from volcanic soils along with excellent climatic conditions.

The taste of Albariño wines

The Albariño grape variety is renowned for its versatility. It can produce quite different white wines depending on the prevailing climatic conditions and how it is vinified. In Rías Baixas where it originates, Albariño wines tend to have a high alcohol content with a crisp acidity and apricot aromas.
This white wine generally has a racy complexity and is best drunk young. A good Albariño is juicy with a subtle acidity and has a slightly salty note reminiscent of a day at the seaside. Its cool flavour is powerful and energizing. A complex bouquet with fruit and floral aromas (apricot, pear, meadow flowers) is the mark of the harmonious balance between sweetness and acidity.Wine connoisseurs characterize Albariño wine as elegant, lively and juicy on the palate. So this original fascinating variety is much more than just the Spanish counterpart of Riesling.Goes with: fish, seafood, paella.

Albariño wines at Coop