Let's talk about Albarino

Last night, I went to a gathering of a different type of wine group. It’s called “Westchester Wine Enthusiasts.” Meets outside of the local church, theme for last night was European varietals with a recommended price point of $10-$20 for one person, or $30-$40 if you could pair up with someone else. A few people ITB, but mostly non-geek amateurs. Fun group, no one was to serious about the wine, lots of different grapes. I was particularly pleased by two Albarinos from Rias Baixas. Nice fruity presentation with some minerality. One was from La Cana and I think the other was from Pazo Senorans. The was citrus, some tropical stuff, and even a bit of white fruit like pear. Nice well-made wines for the price point. No, I would not want to drink it with roast beef on a cold winter night, but excellent on a hot day or with a nice Spanish fish stew.

Like in a parking lot, perhaps around a drum filled with burning newsprint?

(FWIW, I also like Albariño but I don’t really “know” the grape)

I like Albarino’s. Some good ones being made in CA (Bedrock, Bonny Doon, and Dropout), but the price seems about $5 to $10 higher than the Spanish versions. The best seem unoaked, crisp and young to me. very refreshing.

I just returned from Galicia and we drank a lot of Albarino, even in the very fanciest restaurants. The good ones can be lovely and pair extremely well with lighter seafood dishes, especially shellfish. None of them are very expensive. It was a hoot to go to a VERY local joint in Santiago de Compostela for lunch and be seated next to a boisterous table of guys in their 30s and 40s, quite possibly a local soccer team, who were downing plate after plate of mussels and “Galician pie” and drinking bottle after bottle of house Albarino. They also make a “gin” out of distilled Albarino (so technically I think it’s brandy, though aromatized and herbalized like gin) that is very tasty, especially when combined with tonic and a little straight Albarino for a refreshing cocktail.

For a really good example, look out for Do Ferreiro. They have some seriously old vines (200+ years) in their Cepas Vellas, which sees no barrique, and is as clean and balanced an easy-going white as one could ask. A bit more expensive than other examples, but a very good wine to have in stock.

We guzzle this stuff in the summer. $13 @ Total Wine

Posted from CellarTracker

Get a bottle of the La Mera made by Ian Brand. Great stuff.

Used to love Todd Blomberg’s Albarinos at Benito Santos before he left. Went through scads of his 2010 which was phenomenal.

Haven’t been able to find anything since with the same intense saline/mineral focus…

Have you explored the ones from Vinho Verde? To me, they have that profile. I love Muros Antigos, for example.

No, I’ve not. I shall keep an eye out, and thanks for the tip Doug.

Has anyone had an Albarino that’s really, really good? I’m asking because from Austria there are many decent Gruners at low prices, then a handful of really excellent ones for much more. I’ve had many decent Albarinos, but never a real head-turner.

Met a guy once at a sushi bar that told me there were such and that he was about to import one (that ran in the $100/blt. range). I gave him my card but never heard from him.

How high does the bar go?

Peter Rosback

Sineann (ITB)

Here’s over $50

Here’s a list of Albariño in CT summarized by wine with a value greater than $30

Do Ferreiro Albariño Rías Baixas Cepas Vellas 22.7% Bottles (305)
Raul Pérez Rías Baixas Muti 11.0% Bottles (147)
Raul Pérez Rías Baixas Sketch 8.3% Bottles (111)
Pazo de Señoráns Albariño Rías Baixas Selección de Añada 8.0% Bottles (107)
Bodegas del Palacio de Fefiñanes Albariño Rías Baixas 1583 7.2% Bottles (97)
Bodegas del Palacio de Fefiñanes Rías Baixas III Año 6.7% Bottles (90)
Mar de Frades Albariño Rías Baixas 5.9% Bottles (79)
Marimar Estate (Marimar Torres) Albariño Don Miguel Vineyard 4.1% Bottles (55)
Fillaboa Albariño Rías Baixas 3.4% Bottles (45)
Lusco do Mino Albariño Rías Baixas Pazo Piñeiro 2.5% Bottles (34)
Forja del Salnés Rías Baixas Leirana Finca Genoveva 2.2% Bottles (30)
Alberto Nanclares Albariño 2.0% Bottles (27)
Viña Nora Albariño Rías Baixas Nora Da Neve 1.8% Bottles (24)
Forja del Salnés Rías Baixas Leirana 1.5% Bottles (20)
Alberto Nanclares Albariño Crisopa Branco Tradicional 1.4% Bottles (19)
Vionta Albariño Rías Baixas 1.0% Bottles (13)
Terras Gauda Albariño 0.9% Bottles (12)
Bodega Garzón Albariño 0.9% Bottles (12)
Bodegas Naia (Viña Sila) Rías Baixas Nora de Neve 0.9% Bottles (12)
Coto de Gomariz Ribeiro Ribeiro Gomariz X 0.7% Bottles (10)
Bodegas La Val Albariño Orballo 0.6% Bottles (8)
Terras Gauda Rías Baixas Etiqueta Negra 0.6% Bottles (8)
Alberto Nanclares Albariño Coccinella 0.5% Bottles (7)
Pedralonga Albariño Barrica 0.5% Bottles (7)
Alba Martin Albariño Rías Baixas 0.4% Bottles (6)
Pazos de Lusco Rías Baixas Pineiro 0.4% Bottles (6)
Bodega Garzón Albariño Reserva 0.4% Bottles (5)
Raúl Pérez & Rodrigo Méndez Rías Baixas Leirana “Mª Luisa Lázaro” 0.4% Bottles (5)

Peter…take a look in your backyard there. Had this week the Minimus Albarino #11. Albarino made by Carbonic Maceration by Chad Stock there in Oregon.
Not sure if it qualifies as “really/really good”, but it was easily the most exotic Albarino I’ve had.
TN on it in a few days.

Here’s what’s in our shelf in Maine…haven’t had the Sketch yet…but it does have a reputation.

Made my first one this year.
Great grape to work with!

‘Difficult’ to price at the same level as many of the Spanish ones - same as Garnacha :astonished:


I really enjoy Albariño. I actually like it much more than Rosé during the summer months.

For me, the answer’s yes, Peter. I’ll walk you through my notes at various times over the last 2 years on some Raul Perez—I have Jay Shampur to thank for turning me on to these:

From January, 2015

"2009 Raul Perez Sketch Albarino

I continue to adore this wine, and it has bloomed a bit more from my last taste 18 months ago. Starts strict and peppery-lemony with plenty of acids. Later, an apple middle is very focused and lovely. Works brilliantly with Tran’s truffled mushroom cappuccino. Later still, it gets stronger and purer and then shows a ginger-ish and sage backhit. The way this evolves, both flavour-wise and texture-wise, is one of the things that has fascinated me about the wine. WOTN for me."

From August, 2014

"2007 Raul Perez Rara Avis Albarino

I left this in the glass for almost an hour after the first sip. An almost cake-batter element with lanolin and some distant honey notes. Oak too. It’s a wine with a lot of length—it has taken time in glass to smooth out, but still hidden kimono. Lemon, grassy, so tangy right now with tart nectarine and back-end of grapefruit. The honey comes to the fore later on. It changes so much. It’s not ready, not for at least another 3 years, but fascinating stuff."

From June, 2013

"2009 Raul Perez Muti Albarino

From Rais Baixas region, of course. A nuzzie full of herbs–menthol even. Big-ass truffle too. Snap pas underneath and, much later a very mild cloves/cinnamon hit. Th palate is very interesting—it has the oxidative and overall feel of a white rhone bt without any oxidation. I like how it mists away at the end. White grapefruit and touches of lime. And later, bacon-wrapped scallops actually comes through (which this would be a dreamy match to). A lot going on and, like white burg, it evolves and changes over time. Also confirms that Albarino really likes food, going equally well with the avocado and the spicy cornish hen main. Many thanks to Jay for bringing this rarity"

As Larry mentions, he made his first one this year. I’ve tried it twice. I’ve liked it twice.



I had Larry’s Albarino again y/day and it was fantastic. I bought 4 more. If anyone has a desire to keep their $$ spend in CA, to buy this varietal, go get Larry’s. Excellent acidity, mandarin and lime fruit/skin and lithe weight.

Has anyone had an Albarino that’s really, really good?

It’s a question that can only be answered by an individual’s definition of really good.

It depends on when you’re drinking it and what you like.

And it depends on where it’s from and who made it. “Spain” isn’t the source. It’s from specific areas in Spain. As a rule, those more inland are quite different from those nearer the coast. And then those from Raul Perez are a different category yet again. We imported a few and I’ve had dozens more over the years, including most of Raul’s. It’s a grape I like a lot on certain occasions. Some people drink Sauvignon Blanc, which is something I usually avoid if I can, but in the same way some people can enjoy that, I suppose you can enjoy Albarino. Whether you consider it “really good” is a different matter. I haven’t had any from the US so can’t really say too much about them other than the fact that where it’s produced in Spain isn’t really much like most places in CA.

I love Albariño, so, yes, in my world it can be “really, really good”. The producers I buy whenever I can include Forja del Salnes, Fillaboa, Gerardo Mendez, Fefiñanes, Zarate, Pedralonga… (Raul Perez not so much: excellent wines generally speaking, but, quite aside from the fact that they are jaw-droppingly expensive, stylistically they are just not what I need Albariño to deliver.) Some very good Alvarinhos over in Portugal as well, like Muros de Melgaco and other Anselmo Mendes Alvarinhos.

I love Albarino. Both wines you mention Jay, I believe are Eric Solomon selections which helps to get these wines all over the US. There are some great ones from Spain already mentioned, but the Albarino that really thrills me is Ian Brand’s version from the Kristy Vineyard in Monterey Co. The same place Bonny Doon and others source from. Ian’s La Marea Albarino is everything I love about the variety, saline, mineral, lemon zest and race acidity but with depth and full mid palate punch which sets it above the bar. I can’t stop drinking the stuff.