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Albariños of acclaim

Expressive, versatile and ever-growing in popularity, with plantings increasing around the globe, results from the Decanter World Wine Awards highlight the greatness of this trending grape variety.

Albariño is no longer an Iberian secret. Producers, wine experts and consumers alike are now aware of the fresh, textural, high-quality wines it can produce, and results from Decanter’s wine competition, the world’s largest, serve to bolster the acclaim.

In a record year for wines tasted, just 50 wines were awarded a Best in Show medal this year – two of these went to outstanding Albariño/Alvarinho wines from the grape’s home nations Spain and Portugal. But very good examples can be found elsewhere too, as Decanter World Wine Awards 2021 results demonstrate, in locations as unexpected as Moldova, Uruguay, New Zealand and Ukraine.

From lively and fresh to fuller-bodied, aromatic and ageworthy examples, Albariño is expressive of terroir and lends itself well to different winemaking techniques, from skin contact and lees ageing to time spent in oak.

One of the DWWA 2021 competition’s champion grape varieties, it has earned critical acclaim from some of the world’s leading wine experts.

Here you’ll find a selection of top-scoring Albariño wines to try, with almost 140 more to be discovered on the Decanter World Wine Awards’ results site here.

Top-scoring Albariño wines from the Decanter World Wine Awards

The Best in Show

Aguiuncho, Mar de Ons, Rías Baixas, Galicia 2020

Top-scoring Albariño: Aguiuncho, Mar de Ons, Rías Baixas, Galicia 202097 Value Best in Show
£14.50 Exel
This wine is the first of no fewer than six Value wines that made it into this year’s DWWA top 50 selection, having impressed at the four different stages of scrutiny for its fragrance and vivacity, its lightness and elegance, its pungency and pithiness. Albariño’s home is around the northwestern tip of Iberia, though the Portuguese Minho versions are subtly different to those of Galicia (see panel tasting, September 2021 issue). In its exuberance, charm and evident seafood-friendliness, this is a perfect example of the latter. Look out for scents of green apple, quince and grapefruit, while the flavours suggest not just citrus fruits but their peels and skins too. It retains all that aromatic force to the last drop, and leaves the mouth still cleaner than it found it. Alcohol 13%

Soalheiro, Primeiras Vinhas, Monção e Melgaço, Vinho Verde, Portugal 2019

Top-scoring Albariño: Soalheiro, Primeiras Vinhas, Monção e Melgaço, Vinho Verde, Portugal 201997 Best in Show
£23.95-£26 Drinkmonger, Honest Grapes, NY Wines, The Good Wine Shop, The Wright Wine Co
The hallmark of a great grape variety resembles that of a great actor: the ability to subsume its own personality inside that of the place/character it is representing or portraying. Compare this (our first ever Best in Show Vinho Verde) with its Galician peer (left) and you’ll see a clear difference. This wine is much quieter aromatically, though haunting and tenacious, with hints of linden blossom and wet stone. It’s cool, sheer, tongue-freshening… yet tenacious once again, with the presence and force of character which typifies its Monção e Melgaço origins. That impression of a cool, wet granite landscape somehow conveyed by the wine lingers right through the long finish. Alc 13%

Spain

Paco & Lola, Vintage, Rías Baixas, Galicia 2015

Paco & Lola, Vintage, Rías Baixas, Galicia 201597 Platinum
£23.28 Vinissimus
Lovely mineral and lemony nose, very lively and bright, with hints of stone fruits and salty sea air. Palate is long, fresh and bright, even though six years old. A really elegant and complex example that could age further ,it’s spot-on. Alc 13%

Lagar de Cervera, Pazo de Seoane, Rosal, Rías Baixas, Galicia 2020

Lagar de Cervera, Pazo de Seoane, Rosal, Rías Baixas, Galicia 202096 Gold
£15.95-£17.95 Armit, NY Wines, Waud Wines
Resplendent honeydew melon, grapefruit, lemon peel and floral nose. Palate has refreshing acidity, a slightly waxy texture and notes of green apple and lime. Long, slightly saline finish. Superb. Alc 12.5%

Altos de Torona, Rosal, Rías Baixas, Galicia 2020

Altos de Torona, Rosal, Rías Baixas, Galicia 202095 Gold
N/A UK altosdetorona.com
Scented as with Bourbon vanilla. Crisp, weighty and long, with green apple, citrus and blanched nuts. Fantastic: serious wine for the money, with lively acidity and a long, floral finish. Alc 12.5%

Martín Códax, Lías, Rías Baixas 2018

Martín Códax, Lías, Rías Baixas 201895 Gold
£18.35-£22.50 Carruthers & Kent, Exel, Fine Wine Co, Harrogate Wines, Nicholson’s Wines
Camomile, dried thyme, herbal and sea spray nose. A rich, complex and layered wine with excellent poise, notes of stone fruits, and a long, fennel finish. Alc 13%

Notas Frutales de Albariño, La Trucha Barrica, Rías Baixas 2017

Notas Frutales de Albariño, La Trucha Barrica, Rías Baixas 201794 Silver
£29.95 Jeroboams
With ripe peach and apricot aromas, this is a rich and ripe style with a creamy texture, beeswax and ginger notes. Long, mineralsalty finish. Alc 13.5%

Attis, Nana, Rías Baixas 2018

Attis, Nana, Rías Baixas 201892 Silver
£22.69 Decántalo
Pithy, salty, lime peel and pollen nose. Pure fruit expression from a warmer area; quite rich and evolved. Mellow finish and lanolin texture; cleverly crafted. Alc 13.5%

Martín Códax, Rías Baixas, Galicia 2020

Martín Códax, Rías Baixas, Galicia 202092 Silver
£13.49-£18.95 Carruthers & Kent, Fine Wine Co, Hay Wines, Majestic, Nicholson’s Wines, South Downs Cellars, The Secret Cellar, Wine Direct
Lemon zest and melon skin, pithy flavours of lemon and melon, notes of pear skin and fresh sea air. Finishes lengthily. Alc 12.5%

Pedralonga, Rías Baixas 2019

Pedralonga, Rías Baixas 201991 Silver
N/A UK pedralonga.es
Almond and citrus nose. Savoury lemon and apple flavours with a hint of oak. Crisp, fresh apple finish. Alc 13.5%

Valmiñor, Serra da Estrela, Rías Baixas, Galicia 2020

Valmiñor, Serra da Estrela, Rías Baixas, Galicia 202091 Silver
£13-£13.55 Hic, Strictly Wine
Good fruit and varietal definition, some minerality, very fresh and saline. Lots of bright fruit and peachy/apricot notes. Pleasant wine. Alc 12.5%

Portugal

Anselmo Mendes, Parcela Unica, Monção e Melgaço, Vinho Verde 2018

Anselmo Mendes, Parcela Unica, Monção e Melgaço, Vinho Verde 201895 Gold
N/A UK anselmomendes.pt
Hints of resin, herbs, yellow fruit and floral aromas. An elegant oily sensation with ripe lemon and pineapple flavours, lemony acidity and an expressive finish. Alc 13%

Provam, Varanda do Conde, Monção e Melgaço, Vinho Verde 2020

Provam, Varanda do Conde, Monção e Melgaço, Vinho Verde 202095 Gold
N/A UK provam.com
Fresh lemon, white flower and mineral aromas. Lovely lees texture on the palate with zesty acidity and white orchard blossom and passion fruit flavours. Alc 12%

Quinta da Venda, Grande Reserva, Vinho Verde 2019

 DWWA 2021DWWA Highlights Albariño is no longer an Iberian secret. Producers, wine experts and consumers alike are now aware of the fresh, textural, high-quality wines it can produce, and results from Decanter’s wine competition, the world’s largest, serve to bolster the acclaim. In a record year for wines tasted, just 50 wines were awarded a Best in Show medal this year – two of these went to outstanding Albariño/Alvarinho wines from the grape’s home nations Spain and Portugal. But very good examples can be found elsewhere too, as Decanter World Wine Awards 2021 results demonstrate, in locations as unexpected as Moldova, Uruguay, New Zealand and Ukraine. From lively and fresh to fuller-bodied, aromatic and ageworthy examples, Albariño is expressive of terroir and lends itself well to different winemaking techniques, from skin contact and lees ageing to time spent in oak. One of the DWWA 2021 competition’s champion grape varieties, it has earned critical acclaim from some of the world’s leading wine experts. Here you’ll find a selection of top-scoring Albariño wines to try, with almost 140 more to be discovered on the Decanter World Wine Awards’ results site here. DWWA 2021: Top-scoring Albariños from around the world The Best in Show Aguiuncho, Mar de Ons, Rías Baixas, Galicia 2020 97 Best in Show £14.50 Exel This wine is the first of no fewer than six Value wines that made it into this year’s DWWA top 50 selection, having impressed at the four different stages of scrutiny for its fragrance and vivacity, its lightness and elegance, its pungency and pithiness. Albariño’s home is around the northwestern tip of Iberia, though the Portuguese Minho versions are subtly different to those of Galicia (see panel tasting, September 2021 issue). In its exuberance, charm and evident seafood-friendliness, this is a perfect example of the latter. Look out for scents of green apple, quince and grapefruit, while the flavours suggest not just citrus fruits but their peels and skins too. It retains all that aromatic force to the last drop, and leaves the mouth still cleaner than it found it. Alcohol 13% Soalheiro, Primeiras Vinhas, Monção e Melgaço, Vinho Verde, Portugal 2019 97 Best in Show £23.95-£26 Drinkmonger, Honest Grapes, NY Wines, The Good Wine Shop, The Wright Wine Co The hallmark of a great grape variety resembles that of a great actor: the ability to subsume its own personality inside that of the place/character it is representing or portraying. Compare this (our first ever Best in Show Vinho Verde) with its Galician peer (left) and you’ll see a clear difference. This wine is much quieter aromatically, though haunting and tenacious, with hints of linden blossom and wet stone. It’s cool, sheer, tongue-freshening… yet tenacious once again, with the presence and force of character which typifies its Monção e Melgaço origins. That impression of a cool, wet granite landscape somehow conveyed by the wine lingers right through the long finish. Alc 13% Spain Paco & Lola, Vintage, Rías Baixas, Galicia 2015 97 Platinum £23.28 Vinissimus Lovely mineral and lemony nose, very lively and bright, with hints of stone fruits and salty sea air. Palate is long, fresh and bright, even though six years old. A really elegant and complex example that could age further ,it’s spot-on. Alc 13% Lagar de Cervera, Pazo de Seoane, Rosal, Rías Baixas, Galicia 2020 96 Gold £15.95-£17.95 Armit, NY Wines, Waud Wines Resplendent honeydew melon, grapefruit, lemon peel and floral nose. Palate has refreshing acidity, a slightly waxy texture and notes of green apple and lime. Long, slightly saline finish. Superb. Alc 12.5% Altos de Torona, Rosal, Rías Baixas, Galicia 2020 95 Gold N/A UK altosdetorona.com Scented as with Bourbon vanilla. Crisp, weighty and long, with green apple, citrus and blanched nuts. Fantastic: serious wine for the money, with lively acidity and a long, floral finish. Alc 12.5% Martín Códax, Lías, Rías Baixas 2018 95 Gold £18.35-£22.50 Carruthers & Kent, Exel, Fine Wine Co, Harrogate Wines, Nicholson’s Wines Camomile, dried thyme, herbal and sea spray nose. A rich, complex and layered wine with excellent poise, notes of stone fruits, and a long, fennel finish. Alc 13% Notas Frutales de Albariño, La Trucha Barrica, Rías Baixas 2017 94 Silver £29.95 Jeroboams With ripe peach and apricot aromas, this is a rich and ripe style with a creamy texture, beeswax and ginger notes. Long, mineralsalty finish. Alc 13.5% Attis, Nana, Rías Baixas 2018 92 Silver £22.69 Decántalo Pithy, salty, lime peel and pollen nose. Pure fruit expression from a warmer area; quite rich and evolved. Mellow finish and lanolin texture; cleverly crafted. Alc 13.5% Martín Códax, Rías Baixas, Galicia 2020 92 Silver £13.49-£18.95 Carruthers & Kent, Fine Wine Co, Hay Wines, Majestic, Nicholson’s Wines, South Downs Cellars, The Secret Cellar, Wine Direct Lemon zest and melon skin, pithy flavours of lemon and melon, notes of pear skin and fresh sea air. Finishes lengthily. Alc 12.5% Pedralonga, Rías Baixas 2019 91 Silver N/A UK pedralonga.es Almond and citrus nose. Savoury lemon and apple flavours with a hint of oak. Crisp, fresh apple finish. Alc 13.5% Valmiñor, Serra da Estrela, Rías Baixas, Galicia 2020 91 Silver £13-£13.55 Hic, Strictly Wine Good fruit and varietal definition, some minerality, very fresh and saline. Lots of bright fruit and peachy/apricot notes. Pleasant wine. Alc 12.5% Portugal Anselmo Mendes, Parcela Unica, Monção e Melgaço, Vinho Verde 2018 95 Gold N/A UK anselmomendes.pt Hints of resin, herbs, yellow fruit and floral aromas. An elegant oily sensation with ripe lemon and pineapple flavours, lemony acidity and an expressive finish. Alc 13% Provam, Varanda do Conde, Monção e Melgaço, Vinho Verde 2020 95 Gold N/A UK provam.com Fresh lemon, white flower and mineral aromas. Lovely lees texture on the palate with zesty acidity and white orchard blossom and passion fruit flavours. Alc 12% Quinta da Venda, Grande Reserva, Vinho Verde 201991 Silver
#quintadavenda
Fresh yellow apple and plum aromas, creamy texture on the palate with lime and gooseberry flavours and a sweet-spiced quince finish. Alc 13%

Moldova

Fáutor Winery, Blanca Cuvée, Valul lui Traian 2020

Fáutor Winery, Blanca Cuvée, Valul lui Traian 202090 Silver
N/A UK fautor.wine
Delicate floral notes of white flowers, jasmine on the nose. Refreshing acidity jumping out of the glass, and good concentration of stone fruits. Alc 12.5%

New Zealand

Leftfield, Harvest Duel, Gisborne 2020

Leftfield, Harvest Duel, Gisborne 202091 Silver
£11.99-£13.99 Cadman Fine Wines, Cambridge Wine Merchants, Hedonism, NZ House of Wine, The Oxford Wine Co
Lively, youthful nose, tangy citrus and hints of spice. Very appealing peachy-style palate, showing lovely lean acidity and intensity of fruit. Alc 13.5%

Ukraine

Beykush, Fantasy, Nikolayev 2019

Beykush, Fantasy, Nikolayev 201990 Silver
N/A UK @beykushwinery
Bright, aromatic stone fruits and orange peel on a nose that’s intense and concentrated. Fresh and floral on the palate, with plenty of crisp citrus. Alc 13%

Uruguay

Bodega Garzón, Reserve, Maldonado 2020

Bodega Garzón, Reserve, Maldonado 202095 Gold
POA Liberty Wines
Saline, complex nose with white peach, mango and elderflower nuances. Crisp and aromatic, lively, almost effervescent with a zesty acidity. Lively and delicious with bright fruit. Alc 13.5%


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