Updated: Jun 4, 2021
As we approach summer, I like to recommend great sipping white wines to pair with boat rides, and campfires at dusk. Albariño is one such white wine. If you have not had the opportunity to try these relatively inexpensive white wines, seek some out this summer. Look to the Galicia region of northwest Spain, the rainy region of Spain, north of Portugal. These wines are fruity, moderate bodied, with crisp lively acidity. Typically, these show peach and apricot aromas when fully ripened, and my favorite examples show floral aromatics, specifically orange blossoms. In northern Portugal the grape is called Alvarinho, but you may not see the varietal labeled on a bottle of Vinho Verde.
Every imported wine is a little more expensive these days because freight has become a challenge in every commodity, but these wines have been historically less expensive to produce. Oak ageing wine is an incurred cost during production, and when that process is unnecessary, as it is in Albariño production, the money saved is passed on to the consumer. Depending on your local market you should be able to find many great examples in the $12-$20 range, and frequently on sale early in summer when supply is high.
These wines have great, lively acidity. Most frequently produced without malolactic fermentation they are tremendous food pairing opportunities, too. In Portugal and northwest Spain, on the Atlantic, these wines work well with shellfish fresh from the water, but are great with grilled fish, paella, and fish tacos in the summer, on the boat.
Finding Albariño produced in the United States is possible, but it is not widely planted to vine in the states. The examples from Portugal and Spain are priced competitively and are where I recommend starting your experience with the grape. However, if you would like to create a class including domestic Albariño, I will do the leg work to find one!