The Chardonnay Alternative All White Grape Lovers Need to Get on Board With

Posted October 20, 2014

WineLibrary Staff


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by Howard Kaplan

Like many people, my wife loves Chardonnay, and has been enjoying wines made from Chardonnay for the 30 plus years that I've known her. It didn't matter if the wine originated in Burgundy, California, or any other region. If it was a decent Chardonnay, she was usually pleased.

She was still drinking Chardonnay, but developed an urge to expand her horizons to try something new. Sounds simple enough, but my wife is hard to please.

Before too long, though, she’d find a grape that was the answer to her dreams.

She doesn't like Sauvignon Blanc, claiming that "if I want grapefruit, I'll eat a grapefruit." She doesn't like Riesling, generally finding them to be too sweet and not rich enough. She finds Italian white wines uninteresting. No other white varietal seemed to make her happy.

Then she discovered a lovely little white wine from the Galicia region of Spain: Albariño. And it rocked her world.

Tasting notes

She really loves the aromas: citrus, peach, honeysuckle, and apricot, attractive without being overpowering or tutti frutti. On the palate, a well-made Albariño is medium bodied with refreshing fruit finished dry and enough acidity to "cut" through most foods. It's a great choice with most Asian cuisines: Chinese, Japanese, Indian, Vietnamese, etc. My wife has also has been known to drink Albariño unaccompanied.

I wasn’t even looking, but it hooked me, too

As you might expect, her passion for Albariño has spilled over to my own tastes, as I too have become a huge fan of Albariño. In addition to all the characteristics that she finds so appealing, I am drawn to Albariño by its price, where even the highest quality wines rarely sell for more than $22. And there are many good ones that can be purchased in the $12 - $17 range. That really appeals to me!

And it will grab you, too

So, when you come to my house, don't be shocked to be offered a glass of Albariño, either as an aperitif or with the meal. Right now, we are hardly trendsetters, but it’s nice to know we can buy by the case and not break the bank. Those days may be numbered, but in the meantime, I know what we’ll be stocking up on.

If you’re wondering just what we’re stocking up on, here are a few fantastic options.

Do Ferreiro Albariño 2013

Offers more depth of flavor and complexity than most others. It's an amazing value under $20!


Zarate Albariño 2013

The Zarate family has been making this wine for seven generations, so you can rest assured that they know what they're doing. This Albariño was made from a blend of 11 vineyards. Fantastic wine!


Bouza de Carril Albariño 2013

Here is a small producer, not well known, who happens to make terrific Albariño. It's a Wine Library discovery and highly recommended.


Howard Kaplan is a co-founder of Executive Wine Seminars, a New York based organization focusing on tasting rare and coveted wines.  He started writing about wine in the early 1980s for Wine Spectator and Cuisine Magazine. Today, Howard’s tasting notes can be found on both Stephen Tanzer and Robert Parker’s websites


Item: 83083

750 mL

Retail: $25.99

$17.60 per btl

Item: 83667

750 mL

Retail: $24.99

$19.98 per btl

Item: 84107

750 mL

Retail: $22.90

$12.80 per btl