Albariño is a delicious white wine grape variety native to the autonomía of Galicia in northwestern Spain. It is the kingpin grape when it comes to the wines of the Rias Baixas region. Albariño wine typically tastes of stone fruit, citrus, and has a strong mineral character, which pairs spectacularly well with the excellent seafood of Galicia. These are refreshing, almost briny wines, with high acidity. If you enjoy dry old world white wines like Chablis or Riesling, you may fall in love with Albariño.
Albariño can be produced in either a light-bodied style, or aged in oak and/or on its lees, which adds richness and texture. As a wine it is best drunk in its youth, and is typically vibrant, fresh and zesty, with a slight salinity, lent by the salty air drifting in from the Atlantic — fruity sea spray in a glass. It finds a great friend in octopus, a la gallega; lightly dressed in olive oil and dusted with paprika — this might be my death row meal. I’m a sucker for octopus, and the pure, clean flavours of Albariño pair perfectly with it, and other seafood, for that matter.
Pulpo Albariño, Pagos del Rey, Rías Baixas 2015
€15, Dunnes Stores
2015 was a good year for Albariño. This unoaked, pale lemon yellow wine is a nice example, showcasing what Galicia’s prized indigenous grape has to offer; a fresh and fruity palate, bursting with apple and stone fruit - apricots and peaches - and hints of floral notes finished with a touch of savoury, sea-spray minerality. For drinking now and lamenting the lost sunshine as we move into chillier weather. This wine, as the label suggests, would be perfect with seafood; in particular pulpo, but I also suggest oysters or mussels.