I know I’m not supposed to be partisan. I should appreciate and review all wines equally, even if they are not to my liking. I should act like ACAS, or the UN, bridging the gap between my tastes and a vinous style I find challenging. Hmmm…Well, watch out Riesling I may have a new favourite white grape variety. “Hello Albariño!”
Albariño or Alvarinho, to give it its Portuguese name, are mainly grown in the north-west corner of the Iberian peninsula. This is a cooler climate region with lots of rain which helps produce fresh and aromatic wines.
Sainsbury’s Taste the Difference Albariño from Rias Baixas (pronounced ree-ass by-shuss) is in this style. I’ve been hearing good things about this wine from Susie Barrie and Matthew Jukes and so was glad to be able to enjoy a bottle at home.
The wine smells of apricots and ripe pineapple, but it’s the taste that I find more exciting. Those peach and apricot flavours are there with some citrus zing and some crisp mineral acidity. It’s got some complexity and feels satisfying to drink. It has a pretty good, but not outstanding, length and an alcohol level of 13%.
For me, it’s a wine that makes you want another sip. I may be getting a bit carried away with images of waves crashing on rocky shores under an azure blue sky and Spanish sun. I think I can maybe taste some saltiness from the sea-spray. The Analyst, on the other hand, said the wine was “perfectly drinkable, likable, but won’t be memorable like the Torrontes we’d had in the past.”
I don’t think this wine particularly needs food, although I’d probably follow the locals and drink it alongside fish or seafood.
Sainsbury’s Taste the Difference Albariño costs £7.99. It’s now moved on to the 2011 vintage in some stores. I might have to try this. Just for quality control you understand!
W.O.W. Factor 7
P.S. My current favourite wine from this grape (albeit blended with Trajadura) is Quinta do Feital Alvarinho Auratas, 2011 which I first tried at the Albertine Wine Bar in Shepherds Bush. It’s available in store and online from Independent wine retailers such as Roberson and, of course, my place of part-time work The Good Wine Shop.