Best albariño wines to buy
Looking for a crispy, zingy white wine to sip on? Our wine expert gives her lowdown on the best albariño wines to buy, from zesty lime notes to bracing sea-breeze freshness
Looking for the best albariño wine? Want to know our pick of this Spanish grape? Read our expert guide then check out our favourite vineyards in the UK, best English Pinot Noir and best appassimento wine for more wine inspiration.
What is albariño wine?
Whisper ‘albariño’ into the ear of any lover of Spanish wine and watch their eyes light up. Characterised by its aromatic peachiness, citric zip and saline minerality, crowd-pleasing albariño was once very much a wine geek secret. Now it’s firmly established as one of Spain’s most favoured white wine grapes.
Its home is the coastal Rías Baixas region of Galicia (on the northwest tip of Spain), whose narrow estuaries, called rías, jut their craggy fingers into the Atlantic Ocean. Galicia is a long way from the parched plains and sun-soaked costas to the south – the landscape here is green and lush, and rainfall is high. It’s more reminiscent of the west coast of Ireland than of Alicante, and it shares more of Ireland’s Celtic cultural roots than those of the rest of Spain.
Although albariño has been grown here since Roman times, it flourished from the 12th century onwards, quenching the thirsts of countless pilgrims en route to the holy city of Santiago de Compostela. But the late 1800s saw devastating population and economic decline, and most vineyards were abandoned. The tide of fortune turned when Spain joined the EU in 1986. Funds were made available for huge investments in Galicia’s moribund wine industry, and albariño is now the jewel in its very successful crown.
It makes a bullseye match with any of the brilliant Galician seafood found there in abundance. Fishing has been the mainstay of the economy for hundreds of years, and because fishermen would be at sea for weeks on end, it was the women who tended the vines and made the wine. It’s a tradition that continues today – many of the best producers have female winemakers at their helm.
More like this
In neighbouring Vinho Verde, in the north of Portugal, the wine is known as alvarinho and is often blended in those light, spritzy wines most associated with the region – or, increasingly, made into serious, single-varietal wines that really shine. If you can’t get to the seaside this spring, grab an albariño and let the seaside come to you. Shellfish, sunglasses and swimsuits optional.
Best albariño wine at a glance
- Best budget albariño: Martin Códax Caixas Albariño, £11.99/£9.99 when buying 6
- Best albariño from beyond Spain: Left Field Albariño, £10.99
- Best sparkling albariño: Mar de Frades Brut Nature Albariño, £29.50
- Best Portuguese alvarinho: Céu Na Terra Alvarinho 2019, £15.99
Best albariño wine to buy 2023
Martin Códax Caixas Albariño
- Available from Majestic (£11.99, £9.99 when buying 6)
Best budget albariño
Katia Álvarez heads up the wine-making at this famous albariño producer. Bags of zesty lime with a long and fruity finish makes a classy match with lobster thermidor.
Majestic (£11.99, £9.99 when buying 6)
Left Field Albariño
- Available from Waitrose Cellar (£10.99)
Best albariño from beyond Spain
A cracking albariño from New Zealand. Partly fermented with natural yeasts, this wine is versatile and food-friendly. Drink with white bean stew with coconut, kale and ginger.
Waitrose Cellar (£10.99)
Mar de Frades Brut Nature Albariño
- Available from The Great Wine Co. (£29.50)
Best sparkling albariño
The first traditional-method sparkling albariño made in Rías Baixas, this bone-dry fizz in its beautiful blue bottle makes an off-beat celebratory aperitif. Perfect with a plate of oysters.
The Great Wine Co. (£29.50)
Céu Na Terra Alvarinho 2019
- Available from Simply Wines Direct (£15.99)
Its name means ‘heaven on earth’, a nod to the beauty of Vinho Verde’s landscape and the wine’s gentle richness. It works well with apa de camarão (Goan prawn and coconut pie).
Simply Wines Direct (£15.99)
Check out more wine guides here:
Best Vinho verde
Best Pinot noir
Best natural wine
Comments, questions and tips