As many recover from recent Cinco de Mayo celebrations it is time to turn attention to the next great celebration – Albariño Day! On May 9, 2013 we will celebrate the second annual day focusing on the incredible wines of Rias Baixas, Spain. So, put the beer stein down and grab a glass of Albariño and celebrate the wine that is taking the U.S. by (a gentle) storm.
Albariño hails from the incredibly green and luscious area of Spain known as Rias Baixas in the northwest of the country (just above Portugal). The Denomination of Origen was created in 1988 and incorporates five sub-zones – Val do Salnés, Condado do Tea, O Rosal, Ribeira do Ulla, and Soutomaior – each of which produce its own unique style of this versatile grape. If you are looking for a place to start, grab one of these affordable bottles of Albariño and toast the day.
2011 Serra da Estrela – Straw yellow in color with aromas of pear, citrus, and white flowers. On the palate, the same flavors abound with white stone fruit and pineapple. Fresh and racy acidity rounds out this wine which has a medium to long finish. This is a very fun and easily approachable wine!
2011 Paco & Lola – Straw yellow with hints of green on the rim. Extremely aromatic, this wine exudes stone fruit, green apples, and light citrus on the nose. On the palate hints of flowers and minerality are present with delicious citrus notes and a crisp and balanced acidity. A great body and long finish round out the profile of this wine. I have to admit that I just love this wine. It is one of my summer “go to” Albariños.
Looking to kick up your Albariño a notch or two? Why not consider using it in a cocktail? Here are a few ideas for Albariño-based cocktails (starting with the ultimate Spanish summer drink).
White Wine Sangria (my recipe)1 bottle Albariño 1 splash Brandy 1 splash Licor 43 or Triple-Sec 1 cup orange juice 2 tbsp sugar 2 cups club soda Various fruits cut into bite-sized pieces (apple, strawberries, kiwi, mango, etc.)
Mix wine, Brandy, Licor 43 (Triple-Sec), and orange juice in a pitcher. Stir in sugar until dissolved. Add fruit. Refrigerate for at least two hours. Prior to serving add club soda. Serve in chilled glasses accompanied with fruit from the pitcher.
Albarino Highball (created by Julie Reiner)3 ounces Albariño
1 ounce Aperol
1/2 ounce Limoncello
1/2 ounce lemon juice
Shake and strain into a highball glass over 3 cold draft cubes. Garnish with a Pansy or lemon wheel.
Coctel de Santiago (created by Julie Reiner)2 1/2 ounces Albariño 3/4 ounce Beefeater 24 3/4 ounce St. Germain
Combine in a mixing glass and stir with ice; strain into a martini glass. Garnish with a grapefruit twist.
Kir6 oz dry white wine
1 tbsp creme de cassis
2 – 3 ice cubes
1 twist lemon peel
Combine ingredients in a large white wine glass. Twist the lemon peel to release the oil and drop it into the glass
White Wine Spritzer1 cup Albariño ½ cup cold club soda Twist of lemon peel
Pour wine into chilled glasses, and top off with club soda. Garnish with lemon peel.
Adam & Eve Cocktail1 shot Gin Albarino 1 scoop vanilla ice cream
Pour one shot of gin into a tall glass and top off with Albariño; finish with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.
With all of these options there is no reason not to celebrate the Second Annual Albariño Day. So, grab a bottle (or two) of Albariño, a wine glass (or a shaker), and pour yourself some happy! Salud!
Life is short. Drink Spanish wine!