The Vineyards

Albariñoo  11/10/2008  Finca L'Escala

Spain produces Albariño to a significant degree in the Rías Baixas DO, especially in the town of Cambados.It is also common in the Vinho Verde region of Portugal, but it is only authorized to be grown in Monção. In other locations such as Ribeiro, Lima, Braga or Valdeorras it is often mixed with other grapes such as Loureiro, Godello, Caiño, Arinto or Treixadura to produce blended wines. Such blends were common throughout Galicia too until about 1985; when the Rías Baixas DO was established on an experimental basis in 1986, Albariño began to emerge as a varietal, both locally and internationally. Its recent emergence as a varietal led the wines to be "crafted for the palates of Europe, America and beyond and for wine drinkers who wanted clean flavors and rich, ripe fruit" and led to wines completely different from those produced across the river in Portugal.

The Portuguese Vinho Verde, a designated wine region since 1908, is traditionally "high in acidity, low in alcohol, usually lightly sparkling and meant to be drunk almost immediately after bottling". This tradition meant that as of 2002, more than 60% of Vinho Verde is sold within its own region, with most of the rest sold elsewhere in Portugal.

In recent years Albariño has attracted the attention of Australian winemakers, several of whom are now producing varietal wines.
The grape is noted for its distinctive aroma, very similar to that of Viognier,Gewurztraminer and Petit Manseng, suggesting apricot and peach. The wine produced is unusually light, and generally high in acidity with alcohol levels of 12-12.5%. Its thick skins and large number of pips can cause residual bitterness.

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