Light and refreshing Albariño is perfect in summer. But as we approach fall’s cooler weather, I sometimes tend to gravitate away from some of my favorite wines for heavier ones. So it’s always good to know about other versions of great grapes that you can drink all year round. That’s why I was excited to explore the diversity (and deliciousness) of Albariño last week at Spain’s Great Match, the Spanish wine and food fest they had at Mercado Little Spain in Hudson Yards.
First a few basics: Albariño is full of peachy, zesty lime, white floral notes. The grape thrives in Galicia, the northwest corner of Spain. It’s right on the coast and the sea spray injects a little salinity into the grapes which you can often taste a hint of. It’s been a place of origin (or DO in Spanish wine terms) since 1988 because of its unique marine influence.
More than half the winemakers there are women, which is pretty rare. Back in the old days, men used to leave and head out to sea and the women would take care of the vineyards back at home. Now women are involved in all aspects of winemaking in the region, and a woman even started the DO there.
But of course, the best part of Albariño is drinking it! We got to taste a wide range in the seminar “Finding the Way to Rìas Baixas” with Master Sommelier Michael Meagher. He gave everyone some background on the region before guiding us through nine Albariños.
A few highlights. I loved Martín Códax’s Burgáns which was easy drinking and had lots of fleshy lemon, while the Castro Martín was rounder and more floral. Señorío de Rubiós’ Robaliño was the flintiest of the lineup, with hints of lemon rind and orange. My favorite may have been the Pazos de Lusco – what he called a “winter Albariño” because it’s creamier, has more texture, and is great with heavier white fish.
The biggest surprise? A sparkling Albariño! This Sensum Laxas was super light and full of fresh lemon. Delicious for a sip by the sea (or just the still-warm day by the Highline in NYC!).
With over 184 bodegas in Rías Baixas, we’ve got a wide range of Albariño styles and flavors to choose from. Check a few out on their website or, better yet, head to your local store and grab a bottle to sip on as the leaves turn.