Summer’s Most Versatile White Wine


I am a red wine drinker.  It is always my first preference when it comes to choosing an alcoholic beverage.

But my friends, I have a new favorite wine.  And it’s white! 

For all of you who know me personally, you can pick yourself up off the floor now. 

2006 Burgans Albarino, Rias Baixas, Spain $12

I know it’s surprising to hear me proclaim my love for white wine, but this particular bottle did it for me.

I’m not one to preach about perfect food and wine pairing.  I believe in drinking what you love at all times, EXCEPT when it comes to spicy food.  This is when you have to find something that will stand up to the hurdles of consuming wine with a spicy meal. 

This Albarino will fit the bill.  It is the perfect quencher for all the garlicky, fiery and spice-laden dishes you could cook up.  Trust me on this one.

I know when it comes to Spanish wines many of us think of very heavily oxidized Spanish reds such as a Rioja and the sherries of Jerez, two wines Spain is most well-known for.

However, Spain is producing some amazing white wines too.  Albarino (al-ba-Reen-yo) has exploded in popularity over the last decade and a half in other parts of the world.  But, fifteen years of winemaking tradition in a country like Spain is a drop in the bucket in comparison to it’s long winemaking history.  So what changed?

New technology probably.  Refrigeration is most likely the biggest factor in the recent new-found excitement of the Albarino varietal.  Most of the wine regions of Spain were without refrigerated stainless steel fermentation tanks, something overhauled only in more recent times.  Refrigeration allows for the higher quality wines being produced in these areas.

Now, a once oxidized wine, fermented outside during the heat of the harvest has become a rich, golden drink full of ripe stone fruit flavors with rich creamy textures. 

And as I was saying, when refrigeration came to town, this beautiful varietal was able to preserve it’s aromatics and bright acidity, making it a truly classic summer drinking wine.

Produced in the Rias Baixas (Ree-as By-shas) zone of Galicia, Albarino is a thick-skinned grape that is able to withstand the damp climate, influenced by the salty spray of the nearby ocean.  The word rias is a reference to the shellfish-rich inlets from the Atlantic ocean along the very jagged Galician coast.  The grapes grown here are trellised high above the ground allowing better air circulation to occur around the grape clusters.  This keeps the fruit dry and less prone to mildew and fungal diseases common in wetter climates.

As far as this particular bottle is concerned, the aromatic fruit and citrus flavors are apparent immediately upon opening; peach, orange and grapefruit being the most prominent.  On the palate vibrant acidity and tartness reminiscent of a tart apple become apparent.  Overall, this is a light, crisp and refreshing example of a well-crafted and balanced wine.

This wine should be easy to locate because it is widely distributed and made by one of the largest Albarino producers in Spain.

I hope you will give it a whirl.

And as always, what did everyone out there have to drink last night?  Anything I should know about?

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34 Comments

  1. annbb 1

    Water…flavored with a lime. At the moment I’m on Mental P.’s bandwagon and am trying to give myself the birthday present of a “better” (and I do use that word in a very relative kind of way)me.
    HOWEVER, that said, I love Spanish wines and look forward to trying this one. We have an excellent Galician restaurant here (Meiga’s) and I always have their white wines, so I wouldn’t be surprised if I’ve unknowingly had a taste. After the great “better me” thingy, I’m having a glass of that knowing what it’s name is!

    Your photos and commentary are so informative, Cathy, as always.

    Reply
  2. Wow! Great write up… absolutely makes me want to try it.
    Unlike Mama and Annie, I am not giving up my two servings of alcohol a week, because deprivation can topple good intentions. I think giving up cookies is enough!
    I had diet root beer (again). Someday I’ll respond with something shocking and you’ll wonder if my computer has been hyjacked!

    Reply
  3. I’m a red wine drinker too, but I do like an occasional great glass of white. I’ll be on the lookout for this one.

    Sadly, I’m not drinking right now… trying to be good on my quest to lose weight!!!

    Reply
  4. Oooo I’m going to look for this the next time I’m out buying wine. I’m also a red drinker, but I like the occasional glass of white. Plus my father-in-law is a white drinker so it’s always good to have a bottle around when he comes over.

    Reply
  5. Fran 5

    Crystal Lite White Grape…..exciting huh?

    Fran

    Reply
  6. Mike 6

    This is very good to know! I’m not one to drink a white often, but also one that fares well up against bolder flavors? I’m in

    Reply
  7. A beer – Foster’s. I love a good (imported) beer!
    But I am going to look for this wine and others that you have recomended.
    Love your site.
    ~Mad(elyn) in Alabama
    link to xanga.com

    Reply
  8. Nothing too exciting from me…sorry!

    Reply
  9. I had water with lemon in it. But I am filing this info away;)

    Reply
  10. Aggie12 10

    I’m really excited to see this post! I just bought a bottle of this wine on Saturday and it is in the fridge waiting for me to give it some love.

    I was introduced to your blog last week and have been reading it obsessively ever since. You have an addicting writing style and wonderful recipes (I’ve already tried 5). Keep it up… GO AGS!

    Reply
  11. Diet Vernor’s Ginger Ale…and later red bush tea…I also am on the MPM bandwagon and a self-imposed, one week without wine as I was over-doing it and have found in the past that it works better for me to take a week off and then get back in the habit of a glass or 2 WITH a meal…vs 3 or 4 as wind down, cook dinner, eat dinner, after dinner…lights out kind of evening…

    That confession out of the way, I will look for this one as I LOVE spicy, garlicky food! …thankfully, the Vernor’s is a good match for spicy food also :) !

    Thanks for the history and info as well as the recommendation!

    Reply
  12. I LOVE getting a white wine recommendation from a red wine drinker. Citrus sounds very intriguing. I can not stand the pear/ lychee heavy whites that are so popular this time of year. Will def have to give this one a try~ thanks for a great post!

    Reply
  13. Hey Cathy-

    We are on the same page as far as being red wine lovers who have converted to those who appreciate a nice glass of white…or dare I admit, Rose’.

    I actually met with a writer for a woman’s online magazine last night who interviewed me for a piece she is writing about men’s vs. women’s palates. We met at a wine bar and ordered a Rose’ from Burgundy. Made from Pinot, the 2004 Marsannay Rose’ was ORANGE in color and not that special. Maybe I should have passed seeing the vintage, but the wine lacked that crisp acidity a good rose’ should have, and had a very simple & short finish.

    Reply
  14. Tipper 14

    I have no clue what you just said-but it was interesting to read.I did get that you usually go for red not white.

    Reply
  15. Jules 15

    Big white fan…Spanish fan too…shall inquire during my next visit to the wine guys at Fountainhead…a haven for Spanish vines…wish I new about it last Sat…this sounds like it would have fit right in to most of the menu…Great info!

    Reply
  16. Jen 16

    I like sweet wine. I just haven’t found anything that isn’t too dry or just not appealing to me. Could it be that I am not a wine drinker and I am only fooling my self??
    Hope your weekend was great sorry haven’t been by just been in a weird mood. Have a great day. Stop in sometime.

    Reply
  17. Chuck 17

    Boom Boom Shiraz. I am on a business trip in Idaho and it was a waiters recommendation. Not too bad but don’t think it is available back in PA.

    Reply
  18. Chou 18

    I want to live where that bottle is. My life has a paucity of pools. Sigh.

    Reply
  19. Thanks for the tip. Any time I can get a good bottle of super affordable wine I’m thrilled.

    Reply
  20. I’m an equal opportunity lush. Red, white, rose, beer, liquor, I’ll drink it all. Last night was Mirrasou Riesling, surprisingly good for a low budget wine. Very crisp, a bit sweet. Nice with the pears I bought.

    Reply
  21. dlyn 21

    MMMMMMM – I will definitely check it out. It can be very hard to find a good wine to go with spicy food [I usually stick with beer actually] and this one sounds really good! Thanks!

    Reply
  22. Lara 22

    That sounds lovely!

    Have you had Thumbprint’s Carignane Rouge? I love it in the summertime, although it’s impossible to get in PA (we have ridiculous liquor laws here).

    Reply
  23. melissa 23

    Oooo, you had me at the “it handles spicy” part. I make some really hot stuff sometimes and I need a good match. :)

    Reply
  24. You don’t want to know what I had to drink. But the Gator-Aid went fine with the Hot Dog.

    Reply
  25. God, I wish I could drink some of the wines you highlight! Unfortunately, it clashes with a medication I take, so it’s a no-go. It really looks good, though. My daughter honeymooned in Napa Valley 4 years ago, and had a great time visiting many of the orchards and tasting the wines.

    Reply
  26. Maureen 26

    Maybe it’s in the air (or the heat,) but I’ve drank more white wine in the last 2 weeks than I have in a decade! I’m usually a red girl, but whites have sounded so good lately. I can’t wait to try this Albarino. Thanks for the review.
    Last night I had a mojito. :)

    Reply
  27. Stacy 27

    I’ll be on the lookout for this. My bf is usually a red drinker but I like white, so maybe this will be good for both of us.

    Reply
  28. Liz C. 28

    I am so excited to have a specific wine to have with spicy foods. Since we eat a LOT of spicy foods. I’ll look for it here & request it if I can’t find it. (As if they would.) As always thanks for the wine education.

    Reply
  29. I will be giving this one a try. I am a red drinker at all times but am willing to try new coming from a fellow red wine devotee.

    By the way, we drank the rest of our Artemis Stag’s Leap tonight….good stuff :)

    Reply
  30. we will have to try it. We’re going on vacation and will probably be able to find it in Florida, out here probably not. I am a red wine lover myself. Mondavi Merlot is my first choice.
    I’m still thinking about the cherry berry pudding yummy thingies, think it would work in a pie instead of tarts?

    Reply
  31. Elle 31

    I’m going to have to look for this one!

    Reply
  32. Summer screams Albarino (or Albarhino in Portugal). We drink our share of this grape, often in Vinho Verde wines of northeast Portugal.

    Last night though, we had a great QPR wine that you must try:
    2007 Pine Ridge Chenin Blanc/Viognier

    Great aroma’s and flavors, floral, nice texture…all for $11 :)

    Reply
  33. Thanks so much for this recommendation. I will definitely be on the lookout for this wine as I like whites best in spring & summer.

    What divine drink have I enjoyed most recently? A fabulous lemon drop martini served at a California Pizza Kitchen of all restaurants. It was the best lemon drop martini I’ve ever tasted!

    Reply
  34. Michele 34

    Hi. I love albarino, although Burgans is not my favourite. You should try the producer called Granbazan. The bottle is gorgeous, too, not that that’s terribly important in the grand scheme of things…

    If you are a fan of albarino you might also like a Basque white called Txakolina. Some bottles are ever-so-slightly effervescent.

    Reply

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