Ahhh, Albariño. Underrated, undersold, and too often wholly underestimated, this wine is light and agile, but often with soaring acidity and a soft but persistent fruitiness that just makes you happy inside. Sound like an oversimplification?
Perhaps, but in our book any wine that makes the food and the occasion at which it’s being served both infinitely better deserves some recognition. Albariño is found mostly in the Rias Baixas region of Spain, but it makes an appearance elsewhere in the country and in Portugal and even California, too. Australia had some Albariño that was ultimately discovered to be undercover Savagnin vines. Naughty.
Top 5 Albarino Wines Under $30:
Here are our five current favorites, all from the (in our opinion) ultimate spot for Albariño – Spain:
Burgans Rias Baixas Albariño, 2011 – $15
Mediterranean meets the tropics in this palate-pleasing bottle that is practically bursting with acidity and fruit, with white peach and honeysuckle tickling our tongues from start to finish. Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate calls it “hedonistic,” and we daren’t disagree. Well we would, but with a wine this riotously lively – not to mention approachable – there’s simply no reason to do anything but pour another glass.
Licia Rias Baixas Albariño, 2013 – $16
Solid, dependable, and well balanced, this wine is line with what you’d expect from an Albariño from one of Spain’s most famous regions. The minerality and citrus pith cut through the marmalade and apple notes, and there is an herbaceousness that only serves to boost the wine’s innate acidity. It’s a great introduction to Albariño on the whole, and one that will stick with you as you explore the varietal further.
Martin Codax Rias Baixas Albariño, 2012 – $17
Codax is a Spanish powerhouse that prides itself on combining tradition and innovation in a most delicious manner. They’re learned to capitalize on what wine experts (er… ahem) deem to the “hot new thing,” but that doesn’t mean that the wines they’re producing aren’t worthy. They definitely are. There is nothing trendy about this bottle’s elegant blend of crisp acidity and long, luscious finish, and the splash of passion fruit and pear is more punchy than pretty.
Pazo de Barrantes Rias Baixas Albariño, 2013 – $20
Sometimes called the flagship wine of the entire Rias Baixas region, Pazo de Barrantes is both a reliable and rewarding buy. You’ll get everything you ask for from an Albariño – personality, potential, and some pretty aromatics – plus an almost unctuous, intensely appealing quality that goes above and beyond typical expectations. There’s a reason this is a regional representative, and it’s well worth the $20.
Bodegas Terras Gauda Abadia de San Campio Albariño, 2012 – $30
At $30, this Albariño better deliver something truly special. No fear – it does. Whereas the other wines on this list please, the Abadia leaves an indelible impression, in no small part because of the veritable parfait of fun and fruity flavors. The pear, apple, and citrus taste perfectly ripe, the undercurrent of smoky minerality sublime, and the nutty roundness that adds the last layer of complexity impossible to ignore. Bodegas Terras Gauda Abadia de San Campio
*Vintage availability dependent on vendors. In most cases, descriptions are applicable for most vintages. Wines are chosen based on quality, availability, and consistency, so our readers can actually drink the wines we recommend.