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Albariño versus Alvarinho: panel tasting results

One grape variety, two countries; but what’s the difference? Our expert panel tasted 83 expressions of Albariño/Alvarinho from Spain and Portugal, and confirmed that climate, soil and patience deliver both variety and complexity.

Sarah Jane Evans MW, Sarah Ahmed and Beth Willard tasted 83 wines with 7 Outstanding and 29 Highly Recommended.

Entry criteria: producers and UK agents were invited to submit a single wine of their choice of vintage, and 100% single-varietal Albariño/Alvarinho

Albariño versus Alvarinho panel tasting scores

83 wines tasted

Exceptional 0

Outstanding 7

Highly recommended 29

Recommended 33

Commended 8

Fair 4

Poor 0

Faulty 2

Albariño is a seasoned traveller. Recently licensed in Bordeaux, you’ll also find it in Uruguay, New Zealand, California and southern France. Yet nowhere does it better than the northwest of the Iberian peninsula, where it’s an ancient variety.

Scroll down to see tasting notes and scores for the top Albariño vs. Alvarinho wines

For this Iberian showdown, the Spanish entries came, with two exceptions, from Rías Baixas, predominantly from the Salnés sub-zone. The Portuguese samples came almost exclusively from the top-quality Vinho Verde sub-zone of Monçāo e Melgaço, with a notable exception from the Douro.

Top-scoring wines from the Albariño vs. Alvarinho panel tasting

The wines listed below all scored 92 points or above

The judges

Sarah Jane Evans MW is an awarded journalist, author and broadcaster, and a DWWA Co-Chair. Author of The Wines of Northern Spain (Infinite Ideas, 2018), she is also the current chair of Spain’s Gran Orden de Caballeros del Vino.

Sarah Ahmed is an awarded wine writer, educator and judge who specialises in Portugal and Australia. A Cavaliero of the Confraria do Vinho do Porto, she is the DWWA Regional Chair for Portugal and publishes her own website at thewinedetective.co.uk

Beth Willard is buying director for independent merchant Winetraders, introducing new wines from Spain and Eastern Europe to the UK. Formerly buying manager at Direct Wines, she is a member of Spain’s Gran Orden de Caballeros de Vino and of the Confrérie de Tokaj in Hungary.

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