If you’re looking for a crisp white wine with bright fruit, a slightly salty note and a bit of a creamy texture, Albariño should be on your list.
Hailing from the northwest corner of the Iberian peninsula, this white grape is behind the zesty wines of Rìas Baixas in Spain. In Portugal, it can be blended with other regional grapes to yield light-bodied Vinho Verde, but is also sometimes bottled as a single-varietal wine.
The grape has also taken root in the United States, where small plantings up and down the West Coast have proven successful. From Old World to New, here are 10 bottles that show the breadth of global Albariño.
Etxea 2018 Rorick Heritage Vineyard Albariño (Napa Valley); $28, 93 points. This site is famously high-elevation (2,000 feet) and rich in limestone soils. The resulting white here is remarkably fresh, energetic and bursting in green apple and melon. With a light touch to the oak and ripeness, it retains an earthy minerality of sea spray and wet stone, that’s deliciously memorable and complex. Editors’ Choice. —Virginie Boone
Rodrigo Méndez 2018 Sálvora Albariño (Rías Baixas); $28, 93 points. This Albariño immediately registers as something special. Upfront, it offers pure white flower, melon and wet stone aromas. Those inviting scents are backed by a palate with notable acidity that’s purely integrated, not sharp or cutting. Apple, tropical fruit and summer peach flavors narrow down on a finish that sings of granitic soils. Drink through 2021. Olé & Obrigado Imports. Editors’ Choice. —Michael Schachner
Bodega de Edgar 2019 Albariño (Paso Robles); $26, 92 points. Very precise aromas of lime peel and white flower meet with a chalky, even ashy edge on the nose of this bottling. It’s bone dry on the sip and clings to the palate with flavors of lemon and grapefruit pith. —Matt Kettmann
Adega dos Eidos 2018 Eidoes de Padriñán Albariño (Rías Baixas); $25, 91 points. Orange blossom and fresh white fruit aromas are in solid form. On the palate, this excellent Albariño is plump but not fat, with a leesy feel and modest but present acidity. Peach, melon and citrus flavors finish with a mineral note. Drink now. Classical Wines. —M.S.
Anselmo Mendes 2018 Contacto Alvarinho (Vinho Verde); $20, 91 points. A soft, rich style of Alvarinho, the wine is rounded and smoothly textured. At the same time, it never loses sight of the vivid freshness of Alvarinho from the Minho Valley. The wine is ready to drink but will be so much better from 2020. Grape2Glass. —Roger Voss
Granbazán 2019 Etiqueta Verde Albariño (Rías Baixas); $18, 91 points. Apple and other white fruit aromas come with a touch of lanolin, while this is fresh yet rounded on the palate. Nice flavors of golden apple, white stone fruits and sea salt finish with good length. Drink this rock-solid Albariño through 2021. Europvin USA. —M.S.
Grosgrain 2019 Philips Vineyard Albariño (Walla Walla Valley); $24, 91 points. Newcomer Grosgrain is quickly making a name for itself with wines like this. Primarily fermented and aged in concrete egg, with the rest in neutral barrel and stainless steel, its bright compellingly fresh aromas of tangerine, citrus peel and melon are followed by full-feeling, lively, lemony flavors, with racy acidity. Editors’ Choice. —Sean Sullivan
La Marea 2019 Kristy Vineyard Albariño (Monterey County); $24, 91 points. Rainy cement, Meyer lemon rind and very tight apple aromas show on the nose of this single-vineyard expression. The palate shows both brisk, sizzling acidity and warmer tones of baked pear, with a taut texture holding firm into the bubblegum-kissed finish. —M.K.
Aveleda 2019 Alvarinho (Minho); $15, 90 points. Ripe and warm, this is a full, fruity wine. Made from Alvarinho grown in the south of the Minho region of Vinho Verde, the wine has both pear fruit flavors and lifted acidity. Enjoy from late 2020. Aveleda Inc. Best Buy. —R.V.
Vila Nova 2019 Alvarinho (Minho); $18, 90 points. Produced at the 17th-century estate, this is a ripe, creamy Alvarinho. Still young in a tangy citrus flavor, it is sure to develop well and round out to a rich wine. Drink from late 2020. Quintessential Wines. Editors’ Choice. —R.V.
Published: August 5, 2020