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Wine Advisor Express:
Aromatic whites: Albarino

As a handy tool for sorting out wine-grape varieties, I often categorize wine grapes by their aromatic level. While just about every grape has its characteristic aromas, the Spanish Albarino is one of the white-wine grapes that I consider HIGHLY aromatic, along with Viognier, Gewurztraminer, Muscat and a few others: grapes that yield wines with aromas that seem to leap out of the glass and shout their name.

Albarino is pronounced "Ahl-bah-reen-yo" and spelled with a wiggly 'tilde' over the n that I won't reproduce here since some E-mail software has problems with it. Albarino is grown primarily in the section of Galicia in northwestern Spain called Rias Baixas, meaning "Lower Rivers" in the local Gallego dialect. Directly across the border in Portugal, the same grape is called Alvarinho and sometimes used in Vinho Verde, a wine we reviewed in the May 18, 2001 Wine Advisor Express.

These damp and rainy regions produce grapes with thick skins, and this, experts say, accounts for Albarino's naturally aromatic flavors. It's no surprise that the acidic white wines from this coastal area make natural companions with seafood and fish.

Today's wine is one of the pricier Albarinos, still a fair bargain by the standards of premium wines. Other widely distributed Albarinos come from Martin Codax and Burgans.

Morgadio 2000 Rias Baixas Albarino ($15.99)
Very pale gold in color, this Spanish white offers ripe pear and peach aromas with floral notes, aromatic and full. Its crisp and fresh flavors focus on pears and snappy citrus, cleansing and tart, with a slight, pleasant bitter-almond note in the finish. U.S. importer: Classical Wines from Spain, Seattle. (July 4, 2001)

FOOD MATCH: Its full aromas and zippy acidity make it a natural match with alder-smoked salmon with tiny new potatoes and a yogurt sauce laced with dill.

WEB INFORMATION: Morgadio fact sheet on importer's Website, http://www.classicalwines.com/morgadio.htm.

Express Notes:
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Friday, July 6, 2001
Copyright 2001 by Robin Garr. All rights reserved.

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