Albariño is the signature grape and wine of Rías Baixas, a Denominación de Origen in the northwestern part of Spain on the Atlantic coast of Galicia. These grapes are used to make crisp, lively whites that are appropriately nicknamed Wine of the Sea because they go so very well with fish and shellfish. Although Rías Baixas is famous for these wines, albariño can also be found in other wine regions including neighboring Portugal, where it is called alvarinho. Wines made from this grape should be enjoyed young, so look for the most recent vintage.
Grand’ Arte 2016 Alvarinho, Lisboa, Portugal
Bought • Friar Tuck, 9053 Watson Road, in June for $12.99
Description • Wine Enthusiast gave this wine 90 points and listed it among the top 100 Best Buys in 2017. The Grand’ Arte probably tasted fresher last year, but it is still a good wine. The grapes were grown on the western coast of central Portugal, farther south than where much of Portugal’s alvarinho is grown. The result is a soft and easy-to-drink white that tastes of apricots and ends with a tart citrus finish.
Ramón Bilbao 2016 Albariño, Rías Baixas, Spain
Bought • Total Wine, 90 Promenade Court, in June for $12.99
Description • This delicious albariño, which also received a high score from Wine Enthusiast, is made and bottled for Rioja-based Ramón Bilbao by the well-regarded Mar de Frades winery in Rías Baixas. Although it’s also a 2016, it tastes fresher than the Grand’ Arte. It’s fruitier and livelier with zesty acidity. Crisp and well-balanced, this is also an easy-to-drink white that tastes of stone fruits and refreshing citrus.