WINE O’CLOCK: Chill out with this sunny Spanish special
Albarino has become popular here in recent years, in part, I suspect, because it is easy to pronounce.
The Spanish white is the perfect wine for the weather we have been enjoying. It is great with shellfish or tapas-type snacks and, lightly chilled, is just made for sipping in a sunny, summer garden.
It is produced from a grape of the same name, in Gallacia, in the north west, which is actually one of Spain’s less sunny regions.
The grape is small, thick skinned and fruity. If handled badly it can produce wine with a bitter edge, but typically it gives a bright, zesty wine with summer fruit flavours.
The precise flavours vary from bodega to bodega, from melon and peach to apple and pear.
Across the border, in Portugal, the grape is known as Alvarinho and is used in several blends, including Vinho Verde, Portugal’s great contribution to summer drinking. I’ve always been a bit disappointed by this young, lightly-sparkling wine when I buy it in Ireland.
Maybe it doesn’t travel well. Or maybe it’s just the holiday spirit that can’t be imported.
Viña Vedra Albariño €12. 95 O’Briens
It comes from Bodega Paco y Lola, which is a relatively new vineyard, founded in 2005. It’s a co-operative which now has more than 400 members, farming 230 hectares across the Salnés Valley. This wine is on the green-fruit side of the scale, with a lovely citrus tang.
Valminór Albariño €19.99 Worldwide Wines Waterford
This one is from the other end of the scale, balancing the apple with rich melon and apricot flavours.
Martin Codax Albariño €15.95 La Touche Wines, Greystones
And here’s one from the middle of the scale. Peach is the fruit that comes to mind, with a hint of honey and a floral aroma.
Cazas Novas €13.95 wicklowwineco.ie
This is from the Vinho Verde region of Portugal but is not a Vinho Verde as we know them. This is more complex, a nice white that balances apple with the sweetness of apricot.