92

2015 Granbazán Albariño, Etiqueta Ambar, Rías Baixas

( N/A, 12.5%, Contact the winery for details )

Grown on granitic soils close to Cambados – the self-styled capital of the Albariño grape – this is a remarkable old vine cuvée from one of the best producers of the grape in Rías Baixas. Scented, pure and beautifully balanced, with undertones of lime and apple, it unfurls impressive richness on the palate with pear and stone fruit flavours and a fine, linering finish.

Drinking window: 2016-20Similar Wines: £10-£20, 91-95, Spain, White, Albariño

The shock of the new

by Matt Walls
When tasting my way through a large number of unfamiliar wines, there are a few tell-tale signs that I’ve encountered something special. Firstly, an involuntary smile creeps over my face....
92

2013 Attis, Albariño, Rías Baixas

( £14.49, 12.5%, www.ralphswinecafe.com )

Made in a pithy style, this tasty Albariño comes from the Val do Salnés sub-region. Pear, quince and white pepper notes are deftly combined on the palate, supporting good texture and concentration. Tangy and refreshing on the finish, with notes of lemon peel and oyster shell. 

Drinking window: 2014-16Similar Wines: £10-£20, 91-95, Spain, White, Albariño
93

2013 Pazo Barrantes, Albariño, Rías Baixas

( £18.49, 13% )

Owned by the same family that makes Marqués de Murrieta in Rioja (they were originally from Galicia). It’s a white pepper scented, bone dry style with plenty of texture and weight on the tongue, showing notes of stone fruit and pear and a crunchy, stony finish. 

Drinking window: 2014-17Similar Wines: £10-£20, 91-95, Spain, White, Albariño
92

2012 Albariño de Fefiñanes, Rías Baixas

( £15.99, 12.5%, Waitrose )

A bottle of this superlative Albariño is never far from my hand when I’m on holiday in Spain in the summer. The 2012 is well up to the high standards of recent vintages, possibly with a little more weight. Floral pefume, lemon and lime on the palate, crisp acidity and a hint of spritz: it all adds up to a delicious Atlantic-influenced white. 

BuyDrinking window: 2013-15Similar Wines: £10-£20, 91-95, Spain, White, Albariño
92

2012 Bodega Castro Martin Albariño, Rías Baixas

( £11.99 down to £8.99, 12.5%, Marks & Spencer )

Angela Martin’s wines seem to get better with every vintage and are now among my favourite Albariños from Rías Baixas. The combination of low yields, ageing on lees in tank for added weight and very pure, almost transparent fruit flavours is very enticing here: apple, pear and some quince with a hint of honey. 

BuyDrinking window: 2013-15Similar Wines: £10-£20, 91-95, Spain, White, Albariño
87

2012 The Society's Vinho Verde, Minho

( £5.95, 11.5%, The Wine Society )

Summer may be over (at least in northern Europe), but this is still a delicously refreshing, low-alcohol Portuguese white that’s just the thing for sunny afternoons. It’s commendably cheap, too. Tangy, spritzy and zingy, it’s floral and dry with palate-tickling acidity and a citrus fruit bite. 

BuyDrinking window: 2013-14Similar Wines: £5-£10, 86-90, Portugal, White, Albariño, Loureiro
91

2012 The Society's Albariño, Rías Baixas

( £12.95, 13%, The Wine Society )

If you’re going to use one winery as your source of house Albariño, Pazo de Señorans is a great choice. This is weighty and concentrated by local standards, showing aromas of lime blossom and fresh straw, crisp, apple and citrus fruit and an undertone of stony minerality. Long and very stylish. 

BuyDrinking window: 2013-15Similar Wines: £10-£20, 91-95, Spain, White, Albariño
89

2011 Finest* Albariño, Rías Baixas

( £7.99 down to £5.99, 12.5%, Tesco )

It’s a reflection of how Albariño, one of Spain’s best white grapes, has entered the UK mainstream that the major supermarkets nearly all have own-label examples these days. This is from the ever-dependable Martin Codax, and it’s a classy example of the style, showing some spritz, floral aromas, tangy acidity and notes of citrus and honeysuckle. Very quaffable. 

BuyDrinking window: 2013-14Similar Wines: £5-£10, 86-90, Spain, White, Albariño
90

2012 Taste the Difference Albariño, Val do Salnés, Rías Baixas

( £7.99 down to £5.99, 12.5%, Sainsbury's )

Classic Alabriño from the Val do Salnés sub region of Rías Baixas on Spain’s Atlantic coast, showing lots of floral perfume, notes of pepper and aniseed, zesty acidity and a bone dry, seafood friendly finish. Spain’s answer to Muscadet, but with a flavour that is all its own. 

BuyDrinking window: 2013-14Similar Wines: £5-£10, 86-90, Spain, White, Albariño
88

2012 Quinta de Azevedo, Vinho Verde

( £5.99, 11%, Majestic )

If summer ever arrives in the UK – come to think of it, spring would be welcome, too – this is a wine that I’d be happy to have in my fridge or ice bucket. Crisp and aromaitic, with notes of fresh limes and lemon peel, showing a touch of spritz and tastebud-tingling acidity. Tangy and light, it’s the sort of wine I could drink all afternoon. Portugal at its value for money best. 

BuyDrinking window: 2013-14Similar Wines: £5-£10, 86-90, Portugal, White, Albariño