Albariño is a white wine grape varietal grown in Galicia (north-west Spain) and in Monção (north-west Portugal), where it is used to make varietal white wines. Albariño is actually the Galician name for the grape, with 'Albarin Blanco' an occasional synonym. In Portugal it is known as 'Alvarinho'.
The Albariño grape is the backbone of wine production in the Rias Baixas D.O. region, especially in the town of Cambados, representing around 90% of its vine plantings, around 2000 hectares. History suggests that Burgundian monks from the Abbey of Cluny who came to Galicia at the invitation of Alfonso VII of Asturias in the 12th & 13th centuries brought the Albariño grape to Spain from France.

 

This is the basis for the theory that this aromatic varietal is related to Riesling or possibly Petit Manseng, but no genetic DNA connection has yet been established. The most probable assumption is that Albariño is indigenous to Galicia.
It is also common in the Vinho Verde region of Portugal, but it is only authorized to be grown in Monção. Rias Baixas D.O. was established on an experimental basis in 1986, Albariño began to emerge as a varietal, leading to the wines to be crafted for the palates across Europe, for wine drinkers who wanted clean flavours and rich, ripe fruit, and crafting wines completely different from those traditionally made.
When planted and grown in the vineyard, the vines need to be trained with large canopies to accommodate the desired 30 - 40 buds per vine. The wine produces highly aromatic white wines with vibrant acidity. The grape is relatively hardy because of the thickness of its skin, a key contributor to its intense fragrance.
Albariño yields a wine with a seductive aroma of citrus, grapefruit, lemon peel and white peach, with pronounced floral and blanched almond notes. The grape's high extract carries these impressions onto a lively palate which remains light, elegant and fresh due to the wine's elevated acidity. Albariño is very rarely given time in oak, but full malolactic fermentation is typically practiced before bottling it fresh and crisp - ideal for early drinking.