Albariño is a seafood lover’s dream wine pairing. We love it, and by the time you’ve read our guide to Albariño wine, you will too.
What Is Albariño?
Albariño is a thick-skinned, white grape, known around the world for producing high quality, single varietal white wines that are high in alcohol and acidity. However, it is also used in white wine blends. The most well known white wine blend that Albariño is used in is Vinho Verde.
Where Is Albariño Grown?
Albariño is most famously grown in Rias Baixas, the Galician region of Spain and Minho, Portugal (where it is known as Alvarinho). The climate in both of these regions is warm, however, they are subjected to heavy rainfall due to their proximity to the Atlantic Ocean, so temperatures don’t reach the same levels as they do in other areas of Spain and northern Portugal. In general, the temperatures in Rias Baixas in particular tend not to exceed 30 degrees celsius.
These days, there are a number of winemakers in California are now producing Albariño that rivals the quality of its European counterparts.
Albariño became popular with Australian winemakers. It was later found out that the grape planted was not Albariño, and had been wrongly labelled for over a decade. The grape that they believed to be Albariño was in fact French Savagnin.
Albariño Wine Style
Albariño wine is very aromatic, as it has a high number of terpenes. These are aromatic compounds, which are also very prevalent in Gewurztraminer, Muscat and Riesling. With this in mind, expect very intense aromas, predominantly of lemon, lime and other citrus fruits. Depending on the climate it is grown in, you potentially can also get stone fruit aromas like grapefruit and nectarine.
As we have previously mentioned, Albariño wine is high in acidity and alcohol, which helps give decent strength to the wine, but still remain refreshing and crisp. The intense aromas continue from the glass into your mouth and then make way for a slightly bitter finish.
Single varietal Albariño wine can be aged for up to seven years, however when blended in wine styles such as Vinho Verde, it is best drunk young.
Albariño Food And Wine Pairings
The fact that Albariño wine is high in acidity, yet slightly bitter, makes it a versatile wine when pairing with various types food and cuisines. The truth is that Albariño works best with our friends from the ocean. If you’re a seafood lover, then Albariño is the wine for you. See our list below of tips as part of our guide to Albariño food pairings.
#1 Albariño with Oysters
Oysters are like Marmite; you either love them or you hate them. We love them here at Savage Vines, and even more so when you pair them with our amazing Albariño wine from Camino de Cabras.
The saltiness helps bring out and intensify the flavours of Albariño wine while the vinaigrette in this recipe helps bring a sweet and acidic balance which cuts through the salt. This is a near perfect wine pairing.
#2 Vinho Verde and Sea Bass
Sea Bass is a lean and flaky fish which is quite mild in taste, making it a great pairing for Albariño in particular and perhaps our Pessoa Vinho Verde. Due to Sea Bass’s mild taste, it is the perfect fish to season. We would recommend this recipe which combines a lemon, lime and ginger seasoning. The lemongrass and lime present perfect acidity to compliment the wine. Young vinho verde is perfect, as the youthful, expressive flavours and slight fizz help lift the whole dish.
If seafood isn’t really your thing then Albariño wine is also a great wine pairing for white white meat dishes like pork and roasted chicken.
London Wine Guide: The Capital’s Best Albariño Wine
There are plenty of restaurants and bars that decent Spanish wine on their list, but where is the best? We took it upon ourselves to scour the capital for restaurants serving the best Albariño wine.
Merchants Tavern has a bit of a misleading name, as it almost sounds like a pub. To be honest, when you turn on to Charlotte Road in Shoreditch you may be forgiven for walking past it, due to the subtle exterior. Since opening in 2013, Merchants Tavern has been serving up delicious, modern European style food, from Scottish to Spanish. Their menu changes almost daily and all produce is sourced fresh.
The Albariño wine on their amazing wine list is fantastic. It bears all the hallmarks of great Albariño. It’s a 2017 vintage from Abadia de San Campio so it still has a nice hint of youthful aromatic citrus aromas, while a slight hint of stone fruit creeps in, We love it! (It also makes for the perfect wine pairing with their teriyaki deep fried oysters!)
Fancy a visit to the Merchants of Good Fortune? Make a reservation here
Escocesa is Spanish for Scottish; a name that pays homage to the original home of owner Stephen Lironi. This great restaurant in Stoke Newington boasts an amazing, authentic Spanish menu with their weekend Paella specials being something of beauty.
Any great menu is nothing without a great wine list to match, and Escocesa show they understand this with their list of fine Spanish wines. On their list, you’ll find two Albariño wines, both amazing, however the zarate balado is particularly amazing. It was harvested from 150 year old vines, so the concentration of flavour from these low yielding vines is insane!
Excited to visit Escocesa? Well you can make a reservation here
The simple, un-gratuitous design of Copita is really inviting. It’s very authentic and the moment you step in you’d think that you’re in one of the best wine bars in Barcelona, when in actual fact, you’re in SOHO. They have a near-daily changing menu which can consist of black ink croquettes to harissa spiced chicken legs. We love it!
We couldn’t not feature Copita in our Albariño wine guide because… well they have a section of their wine list dedicated to this amazing grape. The list ranges from a young, easy drinking Albariño from Bodega Ohpalum, affectionately described as ‘session’, to a very refined 2016 Godello/Albariño blend from the region of Ribeira Sacra.
Craving some food from Copita? Well you can book a table here
Based on Maltby Street, Bermondsey; Bar Tozino brings fine Spanish small plates and wine to South London. The first thing that you’ll notice at Bar Tozino are the big hanging cured hams, as they’re pretty hard to miss. However they give an authentic aesthetic to this beautiful hole in the wall.
The menu is concise and meant to accompany your beverage and conversation. We chose this place for our London Albariño wine guide because it reminds us of Morro Fi, the small chain of vermouth bars that we showcased in our guide to Barcelona Wine Bars. It’s small, unpretentious, uncomplicated and you’re bound to have a good time.
P.S. Their 2017 Valtea Albariño is banging!
Tempted to try Tozino? Well you can reserve a seat at their bar here
Well, that was our guide to Albariño wine. It is a great grape that can sometimes go under the radar. Hopefully now you will be able to have the confidence to expertly pair Albariño with food, and you now know the best places for a glass on your next night out!
If you’d simply just like to learn about wine from the comfort of your own home, be sure to check out our online blog and sign up to our mailing list. We’re always looking to teach people about different regions, grape varieties and producers. Beyond that, you can expect to find a whole host of playlists, cocktail cards and recipe cards packed full of wine pairing ideas. There might even be some special offers along the way so make sure that you don’t miss out!
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