Appears in

Oxford Companion to Wine

Oxford Companion to Wine

By Jancis Robinson

Published 2006

  • About

Spanish name of the distinctive, aromatic, high-quality vine grown in Galicia (and as alvarinho in the north of Portugal’s Vinho Verde region). The grapes’ thick skins help them withstand the particularly damp climate, and can result in white wines notably high in alcohol, acidity, and flavour. Albariño was one of the first Spanish white grape varieties produced as a varietal and encountered on labels. Most common in Spain in the rías baixas zone, it has become so popular (and expensive) that it represents about half of all white wine grapes. Sometimes oak-matured, and increasingly aged for several years in stainless steel tanks before release, it can age better than most light-skinned Spanish grapes however it is made. Occasionally blended with Loureiro, Treixadura, Caiño. Spanish plantings had grown to about 5,555 ha (13,721 acres) by 2012. Its wines are so widely exported that it is now also grown in California, Oregon, Washington, Australia, New Zealand, and Uruguay, and has been allowed in France since 2010.