Bottles of Albariño. / Photo and Prop Styling by: Tom Arena
With more than 3,000 miles of coastline, Spain offers some of the world’s finest seafood. Likewise, this wine-producing country makes excellent white wines perfect for pairing with ocean-borne delights.
Among the country’s critically acclaimed white varietal wines—a field that includes Godello, Verdejo, Viura and Garnacha Blanca—Albariño is a standout. Hailing almost entirely from the sprawling noncontiguous wine region of Rías Baixas, which abuts the Atlantic Ocean in northwest Spain, Albariño (pronounced Albah-REEN-yo) is a wine whose popularity has skyrocketed over the past quarter-century.
A classic Rías Baixas Albariño offers fresh aromas of white flowers, citrus fruits, stone fruits and green apple offset by supporting notes of sea brine, slate and minerals. The nonfruit aromatics come from the nearby ocean and granitic base soils found throughout the region.
Galician in origin, Albariño is most often fermented in stainless steel and meant to be consumed within two years of being bottled. Some producers seek greater depth and richness through extended aging on lees or barrel fermentation.
Pair these wines with shellfish, lobster, smoked salmon or octopus, and you will feel transported to Spain’s cool and verdant Northwest. A quick word on recent vintages: Albariños to buy and drink now are those from the 2020 harvest and the higher quality 2019 vintage. Albariño should always be served chilled but not ice-cold; the younger the wine, the more bold, agile and lucid it will be.