Wine, Women, and Albariño

Albariño vines at Pazo Señorans
Pergola-trained Albariño vines; photo courtesy of Pazo Señorans winery.

Last week, at the first Wine, Women & Wednesdays Networking Salon (
I had the pleasure of talking about and sharing a lovely white wine from Spain
that I enjoy all summer long – Albariño.  Most of the approximately 60 women at this
event were having their first tasting of this indigenous Spanish varietal.
“Albariño is not Pinot Grigio or Chardonnay, but it
is frequently on wine lists and is fairly popular in retail, where bottles in
the $10 to $12 range can be found,” says Alexander Stuempfig, Western Regional
Director of European Cellars (,
who represents some Spanish importers. He adds that Spanish wines are a great value
now, particularly “cool wines in
older vintages” from regions such as Rioja – including the red varietals of Tempranillo
and Garnacha – but Spanish whites are probably the least well known.
The southernmost portion of the Galician coastline of northwestern
Spain is home to the Rías Baixas wine region. This is the
coolest and wettest area of Spain, similar in climate to Scotland, with humid
ocean breezes flowing in from the Atlantic, creating perfect growing conditions
for white wine grapes. The jewel of these is the Albariño, which accounts for
about 90 percent of all plantings in the area.
A thick-skinned white grape that is able to resist the fungal
diseases prevalent in moist environments, the aromatic Albariño offers peach and apricot on the nose and
palate, as well as a pleasing minerality. This grape is naturally high in acid,
which balances out the fruitiness, and makes it a great food-pairing wine. Rías Baixas Albariño screams sea food, which is “the
best in the world,” says Stuempfig, who says the wine goes “hand in hand” with
the region’s indigenous razor claims, octopus, and scallops.
Per tradition in Rías
Baixas, grape vines are trained on large pergolas to encourage air flow among
the plantings and discourage fungal growth. Newer, more modern vine-training
methods are now being implemented, as well as temperature-controlled stainless
steel tanks, which are producing Albariños with a crisp, refreshing style that
allows the delicate fruit character to come through.
If you
haven’t experienced an Albariño, I encourage you to do so. It’s a nice summer
wine that will impress your friends at a gathering. I plan to bring a bottle to
the Hollywood Bowl this week.
this month European Cellars had a variety of Albariños
and other Spanish wines available
for tasting at the Wine House (, and to my delight I sampled some
excellent ones.  Among them: 

bottle shot of Pazo Senorans Albarino
Pazo Senorans Albarino
Pazo Señorans
ño 2011 (
tasted of peach and yellow apple, with a nice acidity and smoothness attributable
to some yeast (lees) contact. At $20 a bottle, this was my pick of the
day.  I was also told that this is a real
“women’s” wine, as the winemaker, Marisol Bueno, is a woman and harvest is
gently handled and carried out mostly by women at this vineyard.  (Bueno was instrumental in having the Ríias Baixas region
designated as a wine region in Spain.) This, of course, is the wine I chose to
share at the WW&C Networking Salon, and it was a hit.

A less expensive ($13) option is the very aromatic Burgans Albariño ( which was crisp with hints of peach
and apricot and a nice mineral finish.

Learn more about the Rías
Baixas region of Spain at and learn more about Albarino at

Until next time, Salud!