The unique character of Albarino wines

Albarino wines are rapidly emerging as one of the most unique and interesting wines currently coming out of Spain, and have gained a cult status. These fine white grapes originate from Galicia, specifically the beautifully lush and green Rias Baixas region, which experiences frequent rainfall throughout most of the year. This area was officially designated as a Denominacion di Origen, or quality wine region, in 1988, and Albarino has really took off since then, with rapidly expanding numbers of vineyards and wineries.
Until the 1980s, Spain was mostly known for its sherry and rich red wines and Albarino was relatively obscure, but nowadays wine lovers from around the world are appreciating the many stunning white varieties emerging from the country. According to legend, Albarino grapes were introduced to Spain by German travellers on a pilgrimage to the holy city of Santiago de Compostela; others believe they were introduced by monks in the 12th century. However, although there may be uncertainty around the origin of the grapes, there is definitely no debate about their quality or character.
Albarino wines stand out because of their distinctive acidity, which gives them a refreshing and invigorating quality. It is highly aromatic with vibrant fruity notes and hints of peaches and grapefruit. As Rias Baixas is a coastal area with a very moist climate, many Albarino varieties even offer a slightly salty, mineral taste, reminiscent of the sea air.
They can come in the form of light, easily drinkable white wines designed for early drinking, or in more aged varieties which are heavier and richer. In general, they are very affordable, which has certainly contributed towards their growing popularity. They’re renowned for pairing beautifully with food, especially the seafood which is so popular and so diverse in this region of Spain. Try a glass of Albarino alongside fish, mussels, lobster or squid to feel as though you are enveloped in the fresh sea breeze of north west Spain.