Albarino exceeds expectations

Posted by Joelle Thomson on

Albarino has exceeded everyone's expectations, growing from a quirky, unknown Spanish white grape variety into an incredibly successful newcomer to the New Zealand wine scene - and all in less than a decade. 

While the exact amount of Albarino planted in New Zealand's vineyards nationally has yet to be measured, its success is growing beyond even the initial promising results in the early New Zealand examples which were made from this noble white grape variety. It arrived in New Zealand via Riversun Nursery in Gisborne, the gateway for many new and improved grapes to this country. The nurseries there build up vines by creating what they refer to as budwood. This looks like sticks and is grafted onto rootstock which is resistant to phylloxera (an aphid that destroys grapevines). Long story short, Albarino was built up and trialled and the results were more pleasing than any other new grape variety to this country in, well, forever in our modern wine history. 

"I think Marlborough should be full of Albarino," said a winemaker last week, over an informal coffee, while we were talking about the fifth vintage of Albarino that he has made.

The great Spanish Albarino grape has naturally high acidity and thick skins, which give it strong resistance to high rainfall which can cause fungal disease in vineyards. It tends to be grown in high rainfall areas, so it has adapted well to such environments, which just so happens to make it a great fit for New Zealand. 

Thick skinned grapes in loose bunches with tiny berries are the story of the Albarino grape and its character is highly developed flavours which come from relatively late picking of the grapes. This works well because of the grape's thick skins, which make it able to withstand the sometimes high rainfall at harvest.

The climate in most parts of New Zealand is uncannily similar to those of Alvarinho and Albarino's natural homelands in north west Portugal and Spain. Little wonder it is doing so well here. 

Join us to taste Alvarinho and Albarino in store on... Saturday 3 December from 1pm to 4pm

No bookings necessary, just pop in on the day to try and buy

Three great New Zealand Albarinos


2021 Esk Valley Albarino RRP $24.99

An absolute show stopper of a wine with succulence from the intense lemon flavours, along with hazelnut and oatmeal notes, all of which add to its full bodied appeal. Winemaker Gordon Russell softens the high acidity of this wine by ageing it for a year in the bottle, prior to release. 

Buy here 

2021 Nautilus Albarino RRP $30.99 / Special $25.99

Nautilus Albarino is a limited edition wine made by Clive Jones at Nautilus winery where the cool temperature fermentation preserves the briny, salinity of Albarino's refreshing dry flavours. A brief period of ageing on yeast lees following fermentation adds creamy balancing textural notes.

Buy here

2021 Redmetal Vineyards Albarino RRP $34.99

Grant Edmonds makes this savoury, succulent and dry Albarino from grapes grown in the Bridge Pa area of Hawke's Bay and, wow, what a wine. It's intensely flavoursome and every sip lingers, thanks to the Albarino grape's naturally high acidity which provides great flavour memory in the mouth and the mind.

Buy here

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