by Pedro Vargas, winemaker, Vino Vargas Wines
When asked to come up with a white wine, most people quickly zero in on Chardonnay or Sauvignon Blanc or even Chenin Blanc. But there is a white wine that is both legendary and delicious that you should get to know. It is Albariño the king of Spanish white wines.
The word Albariño comes from the word Alba which means "white" in Latin or "dawn" in Spanish. In Spain Albariño is predominantly grown in the region know as Galicia located along the Atlantic on the Southwestern side of Spain. The exact region is known as Rias Baixas named after the four very distinct estuaries that point towards the city of Pontevedra.
The region’s proximity to the Atlantic makes for cool and crisp weather and the grapes are grown on trellis' that extend overhead as opposed to vertical. This opens the vines to more sun and keeps mildew to a minimum. The results are grapes that mature slowly and consistently.
Traditionally, grapes are harvested at around 18 brix which results in low alcohol wines in the 11% range. Aromas are centered around nectarine and stone fruit with a touch of lemon zest. The higher acidity makes it a great pairing for any seafood. Yum!
Albariño grows well in Paso Robles climate but must be picked early to get close to the same qualities. So the next time you are looking for a crisp white wine to beat the summer heat, reach for an Albariño. You won’t be disappointed.
Read more from Pedro Vargas:Chardonnay: Old World vs New World
A Thing or Two About Sparkling Wine