Albarino is the most successful of all the experimental grape varieties currently in New Zealand and is also one of our most popular lesser known, alternative white wines in store here at Regional Wines. One little known fact about Albarino is that it is actually regarded as a Portuguese grape and is called Alvarinho.
The two different names refer to the same grape and it grows in both north west Portugal and in north west Spain. Both regions have high rainfall and the most famous home of Albarino is Galicia in north west Spain in an appellation (legally defined wine region) called Rias Baixas, where 90% of the grapes are white and mostly Albarino.
The Albarino / Alvarinho grape has thick skins and high acidity, both of which suit maritime climates with high rainfall throughout the year. Its tough skins suit wet climates because they have a good resistance to fungal disease – the bane of most winemakers’ lives.
Styles of Albarino
* Small amounts of many other experimental white grape varieties grow in New Zealand today, most of which have arrived in this country via Riversun Nursery in Gisborne, which has a 25 year contract with INTAV in France; a highly respected vine nursery that guarantees both the authenticity and disease free status of the grape variety cuttings it brings into this country.
Interesting alternative white grapes in New Zealand
Arneis (north west Italy),Gruner Veltliner (Austria), Vermentino (Italy), Viognier (northern Rhone, Italy), Marsanne and Roussanne (northern Rhone, Italy), Semillon (Bordeaux, south west France).