Someone, somewhere designated today, August 1, National Albariño Day, to celebrate and bring attention to the aromatic white grape best known from the DO Rias Baixas in the Galicia region of northwestern Spain.
I’m not sure how these days get designated but wine lovers around the world enthusiastically embrace these made up wine holidays so I’m officially designating my birth date, November 9, as National Send First Growths and Grower Champagne to Frank Day.
Albariño Day coincides with the Fiesta del Albariño held the first week of August each year in the Spanish coastal town of Cambados (so it’s not totally made up as so many of the others are).
Albariño is among a growing number of exciting varieties showing great promise in Virginia. Unfortunately, there is not much of this promising variety planted in the Commonwealth… yet.
According to the 2016 Commercial Grape Report, managed and compiled by the Marketing Office of the Virginia Wine Board and Virginia Commonwealth University School of Business (2016 marks the first year VCU managed the report), there are just 24 bearing acres and nine non-bearing acres of Albariño planted in the Commonwealth.
To celebrate this wine holiday we opened one of our favorite local Albariños from one of our favorite winemakers — the 2016 Blenheim Vineyards Albariño.
Blenheim Vineyards (on Twitter: @BlenheimWines) may be known to most visitors as the winery owned by musician Dave Matthews but local wine enthusiasts know it as a place for fresh, drink now, delicious wines made by one of the region’s most noted winemakers.
Kirsty Harmon joined Blenheim as winemaker and general manager in June 2008 and has since built a reputation as an innovative grower and winemaker known for making fresh, fruity, delicious drink now wines that offer exceptional value.
One of the newest delicious drink now Blenheim wines is the recently-released 2016 Albariño (only available to club members).
Harmon and her team farm 1.5 acres of Albariño planted in the estate vineyard at Blenheim in Charlottesville.
“We planted this variety [Albariño] because it’s known for good acidity and early ripening and has so far proven to be a fairly easy grape to manage from the vineyard standpoint,” says Harmon. “The grape has a thick skin and grows in loose clusters, and is thus resistant to rot.”
Made with 100% estate-grown fruit (90% Albariño with 10% Viognier), this is Harmon’s first Albariño. Made from 2nd and 3rd leaf Albariño vines, this wine is fresh and zippy and ready to drink. Straw yellow color in the glass, the wine smells of green apple, grapefruit, honeysuckle and hints of hay; flavors of white peach, citrus and saline; zingy green apple acidity. This delicious wine finishes with light saline and white flower notes. Perfect to pair with fish or grilled shrimp (or pretty much any seafood).
“We’re very excited about what Albariño holds for the future.”
Albariño is thriving in other regions across the state as well. Look for Albariño from Chrysalis Vineyards in Middleburg, Ingleside Vineyards on the Northern Neck, Horton Vineyards in Gordonsville, north of Charlottesville, and Afton Mountain Vineyards in Afton, west of Charlottesville.
Find this wine. Buy this wine. Drink this wine. Today!