Albariño presents certain roadblocks to its producers. Even though it’s of a high quality (perhaps a relative of Riesling), it’s low yielding. And its skins are so thick that only a small amount of juice can be squeezed out. Albariño’s scarcity made it one of Spain’s most expensive wine grapes.
In the mid-1980s only five commercial wineries existed in the Rias Baixas region of northwest Spain where Albariño is produced, so very little Albariño was made. Since then, the number of wineries has multiplied to one hundred—with a positive (if not overwhelming) effect on production. Albariño is produced across the border in Portugal, where it’s called Alvarinho.
The wine has a creamy texture with complex flavors of apricots, peaches, and citrus. Albariño is rarely barrel fermented—so the flavors are clean and vibrant. In spite of its high acidity, Albariño doesn’t age well and should be consumed within the first two years.