Australian Albarino wine regional and flavour profile
Albarino tastes and aromas
Ripe peach, apricot, lemon zest, nectarine and floral like flavours
Light bodied, generally dry, high citrus acidity.
Facts about Albarino
- Albarino makes a delicate but scented wine, similar to Riesling, but with a richer aroma and fuller palate.
- In it’s native land (North-west Spain), Albarino is often grown on trellises as high as ten feet, due to its tendency to mildew and mould in a rainy region.
- In early 2009 a controversy emerged about the identity of the variety of vines in some Albarino vineyards in Australia. The Albarino being grown in Australia was DNA tested and turned out not to be Albarino at all, and not even Spanish. It was actually an obscure French variety called Savagnin (or Savagnin Blanc- not to be confused with Sauvignon Blanc), which is a non-aromatic form of Traminer. The problem originated in 1989 when Spanish authorities made a mix up when supplying propagating material to the CSIRO. All so called Albarino vines from these sources are now known to be Savagnin. This is not the first case of mistaken identity among grape varieties – there have been many mix-ups over the years. For example, in the early 1990’s much of the Merlot grown in Victoria was discovered to be Cabernet Franc, and some of the Semillon in the Riverland turned out to be Crouchen. Similar cases have occurred in Chile and other countries.
- Albarino is the most fashionable Spanish varietal white wine because of its fresh, light fruit flavours and intense aroma.
Australian regions that produce Albarino
From all the wine countries in the world, Australia has most in common with the temperature conditions of Spain and Portugal, however strangely the variety has not taken off yet. The variety prefers to be grown in cool climates, and a current Tasmanian producer by the name of Tamar Ridge Estate has produced some exceptional Albarino wines. Interestingly, the grape also bodes well in hot climates, and is being grown in the Riverland area of South Australia.
Originally from Spain, Albarino is grown significantly in the Rías Baixas DO, especially in the town of Cambados. It is also common in the Vinho Verde region of Portugal, but it is only authorized to be grown in Monção and Melgaço. Its recent emergence as a varietal led the wines to be crafted for the palates of Europe, America and beyond and for wine drinkers who wanted clean flavours and rich, ripe fruit and led to wines completely different from those produced in Portugal.
Albarino is now produced in several California regions including the Santa Ynez Valley, Clarksburg, and Los Carneros AVAs.
Albarino wine and food Pairings
Albino’s fresh acidity makes it a fine contrast to foods that are rich, salty, oily, fatty, or mildly spicy. The wine also pairs nicely with tart foods such as vinaigrettes, capers, leeks, and tomatoes.
Its crisp, delicate fruit flavours with their light mineral edge and bracing acidity makes it a great match for seafood dishes, especially those with garlic. Paella, pastas and risottos can be enjoyed with these wines as well.