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Albariño Days bring a taste of Spain

Crisp, lively, delicate, and aromatic are often used to describe what has become the quintessential Spanish white wine, Albariño.

In the Spanish province of Galicia, the grapes are called Albariño, while in the area across the River Minho/Miño, in the Portuguese province of Vinho Verde, they are known as Alvarinho.

This is the upper western area of the Iberian Peninsula where Spain extends over Portugal, a coastal, damp and green corner that is different from the rest of Spain. The grape varietal is native to this region, rooted into the rocky, granite soil, kissed by the tang of the sea, and old. There are vines noted to be at least 300 years old.

Albariño grapes do well in the humid maritime regions but also have shown to grow well here in southern Oregon. Michael Moore, General Manager for Quail Run Vineyards says, “Albariño grows incredibly well here, the wines are stunning. I’m so pleased with where we’ve gotten with our wines.”

Abacela, located in the Umpqua Valley, planted their first Albariño grapes in 2000 and became one of America’s first producers of this wine with their 2001 vintage. They are considered the longest producing vineyard of Albariño in America and have over 11 acres in production.

Albariño/Alvarinho is a dry, light colored wine often with high acidity. Although there are some recent vintages that can be aged, this varietal is meant to be enjoyed young, when it is fresh and vital.

Although here in Oregon we don’t have the oceanic influence in the flavors, local Albariño pairs beautifully with paella, burrata, manchego, gouda and salty feta. If you like shellfish and stone fruit, this vivid, elegant, and beautifully refreshing varietal is your wine.

Coming up the first week of August is ‘International Albariño Days’ with the first being World Albariño Day, a perfect time to try some of these cool, crisp and clear wines.

Southern Oregon Albariño

Abacela 2020

Lightly honeyed on the nose and mouthwatering. Nectar-like notes of apricot, almond and white peach wrapped with honey, give way to luscious tropical fruit. Less acidic. Don’t drink highly chilled: the flavors blossom with a little warmth.

Awen Winecraft

2018 This very light-bodied wine starts with soft apricot but quickly mixes with a pithy, taut, crisp, grapefruit zest. Tangy and wet stone notes make for a brisk finish.

2019 Summertime lemon and orange creamsicle swirl on the nose. Silky tropical fruit notes lace with slate and nectarine then harmonize in a frisky, tart orange finish.

South Stage Cellars 2019

Zesty aromas of lively citrus and fresh green. There’s balanced tension with warmer hints of peach, layered with ripe stone fruit, and a streak of minerality. A flavorful finish with tinges of ruby red grapefruit dance across the tongue.

Additional Albariño available in the Rogue Valley are Schmidt Family Winery, who use acacia barrels for aging, Kriselle Cellars (wine club members only), and Pebblestone Cellars.

Old World

The Rogue Grape 2019

Portuguese Nortico Alvarinho tantalizes with the perfume of soft orange blossom. Tuscan melon, and creamy sweet orange are rounded with almond suggesting a light caramel flavor. Nip of citrus on the back of tongue touches wet granite and is gone. Best when not over chilled.

For more old world styles check Ostras! in Ashland and Elements in Medford.

Salud!

Reach Paula Bandy at pbthegrapevine@gmail.com and connect with her on Instagram at @pbthroughthegrapevine.