The mofo guide to albariño
Albariño, mofos. This white grape from northwestern Spain and Portugal has got it going on, and it's a firm mofo favourite for a very good reason. Here’s what to expect, and what it does so well.
Why mofos like albariño
Whilst the rest of Spain is dominated by red wine production, up in the northwest region of Rías Baixas you’ll find the albariño grape holding court. Here on the windswept Atlantic coast (with an yearly average rainfall that’s even higher than the UK further north) it's well and truly ploughed its own furrow. With vibrant aromatics, zippy acidity and an uncanny ability to pair with the region’s maritime delights, it ranges from young and fresh to more textured and developed examples that have been aged on lees. Lots to discover, particularly if you love a riesling or an unoaked, leaner style of chardonnay.
What to expect with an albariño
On the nose, expect to find floral and fruity aromas like citrus blossom, lemon, grapefruit and nectarine, plus a detectable saline, oyster-shell freshness.
On the palate, albariño has a refreshingly high acidity that wakes up your taste buds like a dip in a cold plunge pool. Typically light bodied, that same blossom and citrus carries through from the nose, with more concentrated examples pushing into apricot and white peach territory. And that telltale salinity? It can be as light and crisp as a spring morning or as bracing as an Atlantic breeze. Expect also to find a bit more texture, body and concentration with more premium examples that have been aged for a bit on their lees too.
What temperature should I serve albariño at?
Because of that naturally high acidity, albariño is best chilled to 7-10ºC (around 45 minutes in the fridge before you plan to drink it). That way you’ll curb the sharpness without sacrificing any of those stunning aromatics.
What foods pair with albariño?
No matter the albariño you’re reaching for, seafood will be the winning pairing - “rías” in “Rías Baixas” means “inlet”, so look to those fish that stick closer to shore. Mussels, oysters, crab, lobster, moreton bay bugs all love to pal around with albariño at the table, and it’s also fantastic with oceanic fish like barramundi too.
When should I be drinking albariño?
Albariño is a perfect summer-autumn sipper, or as a sidekick to your favourite seafood dishes. Our top pick? Put your feet up somewhere with a sea view, grab a tin of good quality sardines and a hunk of good bread, and surf that gosh darn delicious vibe.
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