Albarino is the primary grape used to make dry white wine in the Galicia region of northwestern Spain. Considered by many to be Spain's premier quality white wine, Albarino is also known in Portugal as Alvarinho and is often used as a component of Vinho Verde.
The thick skin of the Albarino grape contributes to its intense aromas. Typically, Albarino wines are sweet-smelling with aromas of almonds or almond paste, apples, citrus, lime, peaches and flowers or grass. Albarino shares many of the scents found in other aromatic varietals, such as Gewurtztraminer, Muscat and Riesling.
Although very few acres of Albarino are planted in California, there has been an increasing interest in growing and producing Albarino since the mid-1990s. Michael Havens and Morgan Twain-Peterson (Abrente) and Eric Luse (Eric Ross) are California winemakers who have enjoyed success with this varietal.
Because of their bracing acidity, Albarino wines are particularly suited for seafood (especially grilled and slightly spiced), Cajun-flavored dishes, ceviche, chorizo, paella, sushi, lemon chicken, pizza, tomato-based acidic pasta, salads and vegetable dishes.
Cheeses that pair well with Albarino include Bucheron, Dry Jack, sheep-milk Feta, Garrotxa, Gouda, Mahon, Murcia, Neufchatel and Roncal .