The Land of Albariño

Blind tasting Albariño wines

A beautiful cluster of Albariño grapes ready for harvest

A beautiful cluster of Albariño grapes ready for harvest

What a wonderful way to spend a sunny afternoon by tasting six nice and refreshing Albariño wines. Our Vintage Wine Tasting Club met to blind taste these exciting white wines. Five of the wines were from the Rias Baixas wine region in Galicia in the northwest corner of Spain. The final wine was from California’s Sierra Foothills in Calaveras County. Four of the wines were samples sent to us by the Rias Baixas Association.

I have always been a fan of Albariño wines since visiting the Rias Baixas region of Spain in 2007. Janelle and I stayed in a Parador near the town of Cambados. Cambados is the center of this wine region. It is a tiny town where everyone celebrates the harvest of the Albariño grapes. The area’s  weather is very similar to that of the San Francisco Bay Area Coast. It can be cold and foggy. Albariño is a cool-climate grape. Albariño wines are most often made by fermenting and aging for several months in stainless steel tanks, then bottled and released the following year. Albariño wines have mild acidity, a citrus character, and sometimes tropical notes. The Spanish people love this wine with a variety of Tapas, especially seafood or a heaping bowl of Pimientos De Padron. Albariño white wine is an excellent alternative for Californians who traditionally drink Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc.

We tasted these six Albariño wines and they are listed in the order we ranked them. The scoring was extremely close, with only a few points separating the wines.

  • Paco & Lola 2014 – Wine.com $18; sometimes found at Costco for $15
  • Ramon Bilbao Valinas 2015 Wine.com $17
  • Pazo Cilleiro 2015 – Wine.com $19.99
  • Highlawn 2015 – Table Wine Merchant in Pacifica $22
  • Turonia 2015 – $20 – not available in U.S at this time
  • Laxas 2015 – Costco  $10.59 
Blind tasting - Albariño wines

Blind tasting – Albariño wines

The Laxas 2015 is the best bargain of the six we tasted. The light yellow color of this wine lowered it point totals in the Appearance section of our wine scorecard, but the aroma and taste were terrific. Of all the wines tasted, the Laxas is the most available with many Costco Stores carrying it for less than $11. I previously reviewed this wine on March 7, 2017.

Land of Albariño

Cambados and Albarino

Looking at the town of Cambados. In the background is the Atlantic Coast. Wherever there is a small plot of land it is a good place to grow the Albariño grape.

Albariño vines are typically grown on a trellis line called a “Parra.” A granite post supports the trellis. This ensures that the grapes are supported above the ground and dry quickly after rain or fog.

Follow the Route of the Wine

Follow the Route of the Wine

Lady with Albarino grapes

This woman proudly shows off her pesticide-free Albariño grapes

 

Albariño

Small bin of harvested Albariño

 

Janelle in Cambados

 

Albariño wines on display everywhere in Cambados

Albariño wines on display everywhere in Cambados

 

Comments

  1. Tasty wines with fruit and acidity that make them perfect matches for light foods and tapas. Perfect alternatives for summer drinking…

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