Albarino is a Galician white grape variety, grown in Spain and Portugal (known as Alvarinho), that was assumed to be brought to Iberia by monks in the 12th century. The Rias Baixas DO in Spain is one of the primary regions in which the grape is grown, and across the border in Portugal it is grown widely, but often blended with other varietals.
Since the mid 1980s when the grape emerged as a single varietal, it has migrated out to other nations, including America and Australia where a lot of winemakers have been sold the Savagnin grape instead. I tried two versions of this wine, one from Spain and one from Portugal.
From the Rias Baixas in Spain, this wine had lots of bright, fresh lemon and melon aromas. There is a sandstone like aroma to it as well with some sherbet lemon coming through too. Big, bold underripe banana flavour up front with some pepper, a hit of alcohol coming through and then some nice, softer citrus flavours coming out. A long, lemon dominant finish with some sweeter Gala Melon flavours. A bit punchy, but nice. 85pts
2010 Soalheiro Alvarinho
A Vinho Verde from Portugal, the nose was quite minerally, subtle with some grapefruit pith coming out and a tiny amount of lemon zest. The palate is very gentle and pretty, with some lighter more mellow lemon flavours and a gravelly flavour too. The alcohol is perfectly integrated, a little banana comes out with more honeydew melon flavours. Lovely, bright and gentle, this is a lovely wine. 90pts
Based on these two wines, I definitely favour the Portuguese style. I know the Soalheiro well, having experienced older wines, but I find that their wine a softer, more integrated style. The Spanish wine seems a little hot and try hard - still, good to see the difference from two 'home regions' of this grape.