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All podcast music: “Café connection” by morgantj / CC BY 3.0, ©2009 – Licensed under Creative Commons 
Attribution (3.0) 

Aug 12, 2018

We share the story of Spain's Albariño/ Portugal's Alvarinho. From ancient fame, to near extinction, and then triumphant resurrection, this grape is one of our favorites -- aromatic, acidic, complex yet delicious! It's a must in your wine rotation.

We also discuss Underground Wine Events, Washington D.C. on November 3. Go to to get your tickets before we sell out! $59 per person!

Here are the show notes: 


  • Spanish/Portuguese name for aromatic, high quality vine
  • In Spain considered to be among the oldest varieties of the northwest



  • The regular: Romans, Cistercian monks, big fame in the 14th and 15th centuries with the discovery of the New World /colonies
  • And its own quirks: Trade wars and export bans in the 19thcentury led to overcapacity and vineyard abandonment, and some issues with drugs
  • Phylloxera devastated vineyards, during the replanting in the early 20th century, Albariño began to emerge as the region’s star, with new generation of skilled winemakers – many of them women



  • Rías Baixas called “Green Spain”,
  • Moderate year-round temperatures, damp Atlantic-influenced climate but lots of sunshine for ripening granite and alluvial soil
  • Rías Baixas, “Lower Rivers”—referring to the four estuaries in the region’s southwestern edge. Albariño 96 percent of plantings.
  • of Producers: Approx. 180


Portugal – Alvarinho

  • Grown in northwest Portugal over the border in Galicia in NW Spain
  • Great diversity – probably an old variety


Some in CA, Oregon, Australia thought they were growing it but it was the French grape Savagnin


In the vineyard

  • Moderately vigorous, controlling yields is important
  • Thick skins so they can withstand damp climate
  • Trellising system is important – can reduce or increase yields, help with reducing mildew issues but can encourage overcropping too
  • Most all grapes are hand-harvested



  • Temperature control in modern, stainless steel tanks
  • Wild yeast fermentation is common
  • Sometimes oak matured or aged for years on the lees (dead yeast cells) in stainless before release, for texture and increasing the aging potential of Rias Baixas wines.


Wine Flavors:

  • Peach, apricot, melon, pineapple, mango and honeysuckle. Sometimes a salty marine note. High in acidity with alcohol levels of 11.5–12.5%.


DO Rías Baixas - five distinct sub-regions:

  • Ribeira do Ulla: Inland, newer area
  • Condado do Tea: inland, warmer, drier area, less fruity, earthier 
  • Val do Salnés: on the Atlantic coast, northern half of the region, features the most coastline. crisp, aromatic “melony”, salinity, minerality acidity and freshness
  • Soutomaior: Smallest sub-regions
  • O Rosal: Peachier, softer style


And thanks to this week's sponsors!

YOU! The podcast supporters on Patreon, who are helping us to make the podcast possible and who we give goodies in return for their help!Check it out today:



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