Looking to pair your seafood entree with a complimentary wine? Albarino’s acidity, citrus, and dry finish are ideal for Mediterranean fare. In this article, learn all about what makes Albarino wine an exquisite choice for refined palates.
Albarino is characterized by its crisp citrusy flavor and a hint of salt. It is the ideal pairing for seafood dishes and light pasta. Some of the interesting notes of Albarino include peach, melon, salty brine, buttercup, and yeast. This wine is a product of its growing environment, which is influenced heavily by the nearby Atlantic ocean. Hence, the wines distinctive hint of salt.
Albarino wines are best when they are young. Unlike other sophisticated wines, Albarino does not age well. On the up-side, it makes for a quick turnaround from harvesting the grapes to enjoying a glass. After 16 months, the wine begins to decline. Look for an Albarino that was bottled no more than two years ago.
Origins of Albarino
Albarino was originally created by monks as far back as the twelfth century. The wine was thought to be an offspring of Riesling and Petit Manseng. However, further investigation shows that Riesling was documented first in the 15th century, which leaves a mystery as to which wine came first: Albarino or Riesling? Whichever grape was the first, Albarino has endured and thrived in the vineyards of Spain and Portugal and continues to this day.
Today, Albarino wine is grown and loved all over the world, with California even hosting an Albarino wine festival.
Albarino Wine Tasting Profile
Albarino wine is noted for botanical aromas of peach and apricot. It is along the same tasting profiles as that of Petit Manseng and Viognier. The alcohol content of this wine is generally moderate, coming in around 11.5% to 12.5%. Because of the grapes thick skins, it produces a high level of acidity, dryness, and can have a slightly bitter finish.
Albarino carries sophisticated aromas that encourage you to appreciate the wine with your nose, before your pallet. A sniff of this wine produces aromas of citrus, like lemon and lime, pear, honeysuckle, beeswax, nectarine, and orange zest. Deeper notes include Thai basil and granite. Overall, you will be struck by the complexity and deepness of flavor upon your first sip of Albarino.
For the best tasting experience, drink young Albarino wines that are one to two years old. Occasionally, select bottles of Albarino have been known to age from five to seven years, but most bottles lose their acidity and aromatic complexity by this point.
Albarino offers a unique experience as the temperature of the wine changes from cold to warm. Serve this wine chilled, and notice the change in aromas and tasting notes as the wine warms to the touch of your hand on the glass. The chilled wine produces citrus notes and crisp beeswax, whereas, the warmed wine changes to aromas of fruit, like apricot and apple.
Albarino Food Pairings
Albarino bitter acidity compliments the cleansing of your pallet. The wine acts to cleanse your mouth of textured, oily, crunchy, or creamy foods. Albarino is best paired with lighter sauces, white meats, and seafood. Anything that features rich, aromatic herbs will complement the wine well.
This crisp, clean, dry wine is well paired with shrimp, bass, tilapia, chicken, turkey, tofu, scallops, and muscles. Grilled seafood, like octopus and salmon, are great pairings, as well as spicy tomato based sauces.
Mediterranean cheeses, like feta, are perfect pairings. Also, try brie, gruyere, provolone, jack, and cream cheese. Mint, chives, ginger, and cilantro are excellent complimentary herbs for pairings with Albarino. Look to pair Albarino with fresh vegetables, like cucumber, avocado, carrot, yam, mushrooms, and cactus.
Albarino vines have grown wild, for hundreds of years, at the base of poplar trees along the fields of the Spanish countryside. In Portugal, many growers still allow the vines to grow wild, but the majority of Albarino has shifted to professional vineyards.
Albarino grapes are renown for their large yields and hefty harvests. Some growers have refined a method of overharvesting the grapes, which produces a wine of lower alcohol content. When over-cropped, Albarino wine will only produce around 8.5% alcohol, which is what separates the quality vintners from the over-producers.
Albarino vines are perfect to train onto a canopy and must be tied with strong wire. Each vine will typically produce thirty to forty buds in bunching clusters. But, the cool breeze from the Atlantic ocean is essential for Albarino to develop its complex, citrus and salt notes.
In Spain, Albarino growth is limited to the northern regions of the countryside that receive an abundance of rain and cooler, more moderate temperatures throughout the season. The best soil type for Albarino grapes is deep, sandy, granite comprised, moist soil. Grapes grown in warm regions need soil with a higher clay composition.
Grapes grown in cool climates, like its native Spanish environment, needs sandy soil. Warmer regions produce Alberino with more fruit and less acidic, whereas, the grapes native, cool environment produces high acidity and citrus notes of lemon, lime, and grapefruit.
The next time you are deciding which wine to pair with your decadent seafood meal, a Thai dish, or herby hors-d’oeuvre, reach for a bottle of refreshing, bold Albarino wine. The dry, crisp flavors of fruit and sea will complement Mediterranean fare like no other. For the refined pallet, there exist few white wines that carry as much complexity, while maintaining a clean finish.
When you need a wine to pair with fresh melon, seafood pasta, or spicy salsa, look no further than Albarino. Let this wine cleanse your palate with every sip while delivering rich aromas that will stimulate your taste buds. Albarino is a wine of the Atlantic, offering sensations of land and sea that have been praised for hundreds of years.
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