Spanish wine for summer: Albariño

This hot new Spanish grape is perfect for summer sipping
Sarah Schneider

Say it like a Spaniard: Ahl-bah-REE-nyoh

Why it belongs in your fridge: This white strikes a balance between crisp, refreshing citrus and aromatic stone fruit (look for apricots and nectarines) and blossoms—great for winding down a warm August afternoon.

Foods that make it taste even better: Seafood. If it ever sported a fin or a shell, it’s the right pairing—shrimp, crab, scallops, halibut, sablefish … 

Try all of the above with lemony aioli or mint pesto.

And don’t let the summer get away without an Albariño-and-paella party (the wine loves mussels and saffron).

Old World Heritage: Chalk that seafood-friendliness up to its main home: Rías Baixas (REE-us BI-shus), on Spain’s northwest coast, where Albariño accounts for 90 percent of the vineyards.

West Coast regions to watch: San Luis Obispo County. Tangent Winery, sister to Baileyana, is farming one of the largest Albariño vineyards outside Spain. (But southern Oregon has its share coming on strong too.)

 

Top Albariño picks:

  • Abacela 2009 Albariño (Umpqua Valley; $18). Ripe, golden apple and peach rounded out with a touch of almond and orchard blossoms.
  • Bonny Doon 2009 “Ca’ del Solo Estate” Albariño (Monterey; $17). Pretty pink grapefruit and peach with a refreshing green apple backbone.
  • Dancing Coyote 2009 Albariño (Clarksburg; $11). Wet stone–like minerals lurk under stone fruit spiked with grapefruit and lemon zest.
  • Tangent 2008 Albariño (Edna Valley; $17). Honeyed and crisp at the same time, with orange zest balancing peach and tropical notes.
  • Verdad 2009 Sawyer Lindquist Vineyard Albariño (Edna Valley; $23). Lean and beautifully austere; limestone and green herbs balance sweet clementine and stone-fruit flavors.

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