The Albarino grape is still pretty new to this country but it’s going down a treat, not only with wine drinkers but also with those who work hard to grow the grapes in our often tricky maritime climate. Which leads us directly to the main secret to Albarino’s success - its relatively thick skin.
Not all of us can relate but it's to Albarino's credit that it has developed a skin thick enough to withstand the tropical, relatively warm, relatively humid and wet climate of north west Spain, which is its traditional homeland. This region is known as Galicia and it borders the Atlantic Ocean and the Cantabrian Sea, so it's no stranger to maritime climate conditions. This makes it rather similar to most parts of New Zealand, which no doubt accounts for the reason that Albarino grows so well here.
We all know the well worn adage that great wine is made in the vineyard. And, like it or not, it's true because without good quality raw material, there is no hope of making a great wine. This grape's thick skins enable it to ripen without compromising harvest dates because it can withstand many of the challenges that rain and wet conditions throw at grapes growing in places such as Galicia and New Zealand.
And as for taste, Albarino is a stunning new alternative white that ticks all the boxes. It's fresh, has the character of a day in the sun and sand, with complexity from its naturally high acidity and citrusy flavours. It’s a wine that has a naturally strong affinity with seafood, fresh salads and has refreshing cut through without fruit heaviness. This makes for a wine of great delicacy and power.
One other reason it's successful
Albarino is easy to pronounce. It sounds just like it looks, so there's no embarrasment or potential for major error when asking for it. For this reason, both retailers and customers find it relatively smooth to sell and buy.
Where does Albarino or Alvarinho come from?
Portugal is often considered to be the original home for the Albarino grape, where it is known as Alvarinho; just across the border from Galicia in Spain where it is called Albarino.
A top trio of Albarinos to buy - with links to buy
Explore more Albarinos at Regional Wines in store and here