Galicia, on the far northwest corner of the Iberian peninsula, is home to the Rias Baixas wine region. In the humid climate, the thick-skinned, white variety Albarino thrives, producing a rich and aromatic wine. A few decades back, the wine was almost unknown outside of Spain. Since then, it has gained a cult following, which is not surprising, given the excellent quality of the wines. The increased demand coupled with a limited supply has had the usual effect: inexpensive Albarino is an oxymoron. However, considering it's one of the finest white wine varieties, the price is not unreasonable. Here are the panel's top picks:
2014 Albarino de Fefinanes, $30
Opens with beautiful floral aromas of soft honeysuckle, orange and cherry blossom, as well as apricot and mango. In the mouth, this Albarino reveals creamy tropical fruit marked by lemon custard, papaya, orange and lime. Those rich flavors are perfectly balanced by crisp acidity coming through on the finish.
2013 Burgans Albarino, $19
When first poured, this one shows a bit of spritz, with pin-prick bubbles clinging to the glass. Tangerine and sweet lime aromas are backed by mineral and a pleasantly intriguing touch of petrol. Mineral notes color the palate as well, along with pear, citrus and green apple. The lingering finish is round and ripe.
2012 Legado Del Conde Albarino, $19
Deep, dark aromas are a heady mix of ripe apple and honeyed pear. It's a bit softer on the palate with subdued acidity balancing smooth, stone fruit flavors. Touches of lime, apple, mineral, chalk and lemon zest come through on the persistent finish.