Week 31 – Albariño / Alvarinho

We tastes: Tercuis Alvarinho 2015 was £8 at M&S (but delisted a while ago!)

Tasting Notes

Emma says:”Oh no! This is 52grapes first official crisis. I was feeling really smug that we already had a bottle of Albarino tucked at the back of our fridge and for once a shopping mission was averted.

Only now that I’ve managed to drag it out through the entangled assortment of cheese and deli dips have I seen that it is actually the Portuguese version, Alvarinho, and it is 2015 vintage, which in wine terms is really old for this type of wine. I’ve prided myself on finding the best possible version of a grape each week so that Andy and anyone who is following us can taste the real deal. This week Andy is going to taste what old Portuguese whites taste like – nice. Hopefully he won’t read this before tasting so we can get his unbiased view.

Interestingly the aroma has that a kerosene lime cordial character that I get from aged Riesling. That makes sense because Albarino does share the lime blossom aromatic character that Riesling has when young. This Alvarinho is from the Vinho Verde region of Portugal where they make the style crisp lean and refreshing but often not complex. This wine does have decent concentration in fruit with some pineapple, kumquat and lime on that palate. But typically of an older white in this style the fruit has faded in brightness and tastes more like tinned fruit. It still has lovely thirst quenching acidity so it isn’t flat or dull which is a common for future whites. So it is still a pleasing drink. However I bet it was far better to drink two years ago.
So in summary I would say I’ll be buying another Albarino this week and we’ll have to update our notes. Perhaps this is going to be a fun chance to test Andy on whether he likes young or mature whites…”

Andy says: “I think it’s likely that we’ll be tasting another version later this week, so notes on this one will be short.

On first smell I asked Emma if it was oaked. She said no, but that age (this is a 2015) will bring out those notes. I then tasted, and said it reminded me of a buttery toasty Chardonnay. Again, same answer – It’s the age of the wine. Something of a shame as I did quite like this one, smooth and full of flavour. And it’s delisted, so there’s no more left to buy, this was something we’d had in the fridge for a while.”

Buying Guide

Albarino is the white grape coming from the cooler coastal spot of Galicia in Spain; and also known as Alvarino in Portugal. We will be seeking out a version from its classic sub region in that area called Rias Biaxas.

4 thoughts to “Week 31 – Albariño / Alvarinho”

  1. Wine – Tres Mares Albarino Rias Braxas 2016 (Waitrose £10 – (now only £7.50 dammit))
    Bottle Says – Peach, grapefruit and lime

    Pale gold in colour, there are notes of grapefruit, straw, lime zest and wet slate on the nose. The main thing I noticed when tasting, is how surprisingly dry it is, it seemed very tannic for a white. The main flavours that come through are the lime and the grapefruit, with more subtle notes of orange peel and a slight floral note on the finish.

    Although no expert, I would have guessed at this wine being Italian, rather than Spanish due to the dryness and acidity, if tasted blind.

    I did once buy 2 bottles of Albarino from the same producer; their entry level wine, and their best wine, but they both tasted exactly the same to me, so maybe this ones not for me! It was nice, but there are many other wines I would go to first.

  2. Hey Will,
    Nice note and far more reflective of Albarino than my mishappened version this week.

    I did hunt out another Bodega Castro Martin Albarino £14 (M&S) to make up for our attempt above. It was showing really nicely and had that peachy undertone that you said was missing from yours. Although I do think that the overall main features are that lime juice and saline freshness that you describe. Whichever way it also goes on my list of summer aperitifs too. Beautifully refreshing.

  3. I do like an Albariño. This week I tried a Tres Mares, Albariño Rías Baixas 2018 from Waitrose (£9.99). As usual I paid far more attention than I should have done to the label which had an eye-catching wavy design – very Bridget Riley.

    In appearance it was a clear, deep straw colour with a slight greenish tint. The nose was subtle, clean and unoaked. Lime and sea breeze were the primary aromas, with touches of cut grass and that elusive “minerality”. The bottle, and everyone on the “vivino” app, promised peaches which I suppose I smelt if I really tried, but they didn’t exactly spring to mind.

    The palate was bone dry and light bodied. Very fresh and zesty (lime and grapefruit) with saline notes and a citric, steely, mouth-watering finish. Not much length, but not too surprising for this style of white wine.

    This wasn’t the best Albariño I’ve tried, but it was perfect for the hot summer aperitif I needed it for!

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