As we reach the middle of summer, you’re probably looking for a different white wine to enjoy. Albariño, also known as Alvarinho in Portugal, is originally from the northwestern regions of the Iberian Peninsula. While it still enjoys a place in Galician culture, the grape has been quietly flourishing in California vineyards since being introduced there in the early ’90s. The wine is typically light in body with flavors ranging from citrus to fruity and mineral. So, no matter your preference, there’s bound to be a bottle for you. Here’s some of our Albariño recommendations.
Eighty Four 2017 Albariño (Carneros); $28, 95 points. Bright freshness rules the day in this delicious vintage of Elias Fernandez’s side project with Doug Shafer. Green apple, Meyer lemon and lime flavors provide pleasure, with a tense vibrancy and focused acidity filling the palate. Editors’ Choice. —Virginie Boone
Peter Franus 2016 Albariño (Napa Valley); $28, 92 points. This lovely white is sourced from one site, the Stewart Vineyard in Carneros. It offers incredibly inviting aromatics and high-volume freshness, a nice combination that’s balanced and ready for seafood. Peach and apple crispness further define it. —V.B.
Treos 2016 Albariño (Willamette Valley); $25, 92 points. Once again Treos nails this wine, and in 2016 the alcohol is down and the acids up. Bracing, lemony, and drenched in lip-smacking minerality, this wine overdelivers. It’s definitely for acid lovers, but with its extraordinary detail and length, it goes well beyond just tart. Editors’ Choice. —Paul Gregutt
Val do Sosego 2016 Albariño (Rías Baixas); $15, 91 points. Tight citrus peel and peach aromas show a leesy side on the nose. This excellent rendition of Albariño feels round and juicy, but not sharp. Pleasing peach and melon flavors dry out and suggest white pepper on the finish. Saranty Imports. Best Buy. —Michael Schachner
Joyce 2017 Cedar Lane Albariño (Arroyo Seco); $22, 91 points. Loads of cut pear, yellow apple rinds, dried lime skins and wet cement show on the nose of this single-vineyard expression. The palate rides a racy line of acidity and chalky texture to deliver flavors of red apple and Anjou pear. —Matt Kettmann
Morgan 2017 Albariño (Monterey); $22, 91 points. There’s a very intriguing and inviting Asian pear extract element on the nose of this bottling, along with wet gravel, yellow melon and a barely ripe kiwi aromas. Light and bright flavors pop on the palate, from lemon rinds and grapefruit juice to rainy sidewalk, all wrapped in a very grippy texture. —M.K.
Borges 2017 Alvarinho (Vinho Verde); $14, 90 points. Ripe, dense and creamy, this rich wine comes from the northern part of the Vinho Verde region. It’s full in the mouth, with a good mix of citrus and white peach flavors. Let it age a little and drink from 2019. Best Buy. —Roger Voss
Vionta 2016 Limited Release Albariño (Rías Baixas); $15, 90 points. Aromas of fresh-cut grass, wet stone and apple are mild on the nose. A round palate with zesty acidity is in full health, while flavors of apple, melon and pineapple last on the finish. Drink now. Freixenet USA. Best Buy. —M.S.
Adegas Gran Vinum 2016 Esencia Diviña Albariño (Rías Baixas); $23, 90 points. Minerally aromas are balanced by light, elegant fruit scents akin to applesauce and pear. This feels refined on a palate that’s only slightly pulpy. A fruit-bowl’s worth of stylish citrus and apple flavors are lasting on the finish. Drink now. Grapes of Spain. —M.S.
Mar de Frades 2016 Albariño (Rías Baixas); $25, 90 points. In this vintage, the wine itself is as catchy as Mar de Frades’s signature blue bottle. Aromas of green melon, apple and lees are spot on for the variety. Flavors of pineapple and citrus finish with modest complexity carried by the presence of lees. Deutsch Family Wine and Spirits. —M.S.
Published: August 1, 2018