image from Cephas Picture Library

Albarino is the main grape used to make dry white wine in parts of Galicia, Northwestern Spain. It is widely credited as Spain's premier quality white wine. In Portugal, it is known as Alvarinho and is often included in the country's best examples of Vinho Verde, one of my favourite white wines and in my opinion, one of Portugal's best, for easy drinking.

These grapes have a relatively thick skin when grown in Galicia, resulting in lively wines with intense aromas ranging from marzipan, to peaches, citrus fruit, green apples and herbs. They go wonderfully with fish and shellfish because of their keen acidity and inherent freshness and zing. Albarino is not made for aging and should be enjoyed in all its youthful vigour as it can fade and lose much of its character within a year of bottling.

Apart from Spain and Portugal, Oregon is beginning to attract attention because of the quality of its Albarino wines.