Friday, April 23, 2021

Refresh your Palette with Rias Baixas Albarino

This weekend our World Wine Travel group  (#WorldWineTravel) hosted by Linda of My Full Glass takes us through Northern Spain in the wine region of the Rias Baixas.  I had the pleasure to be part of a virtual journey with suitcases packed and Albarino in hand to Rias Baixas.  I always enjoy covering this region and exploring some different styles of Albarino.  Rick Fisher, a Spanish Wine Scholar Guild instructor, has frequently traveled through the Rias Baixas and shared his experience and information on the land, cuisine and wineries.  Let’s dig in!

The Region

Riax Baixas is a smaller wine region in Galicia in the northwestern corner of Spain.  The name Rias Baixas actually means lower estuaries in Galician.  There are a number of inland river valleys that run through this area.   The total land under vine is over 10,000 acres occupied by about 179 wineries and 6 coops.  It’s a land dominated 99% by white grape varietals with Albarino occupying 96% of it so it’s definitely the king of the land.  

Wine region of Rias Baixas

The Romans brought vines and winemaking to the area over 1,000 years ago.  Most of the vines are on the valley floor at sea level up to about 1,000 feet.   The vines create a pergola style, or “parras” as they call them, that are tied to stone columns that allow the grapes to get the most sunlight exposure and good ventilation so they aren’t prone to mildew.  The soils of the area are mostly made of granite with a gravelly, sandy top soil known as “xabre” that is rich in minerals and iron. 

The Wines

Albarino is a grape that is thick skinned, which helps protect it from the wet climate that is very much present in the Rias Baixas.  The wines show high acidity with floral aromas and notes of peach, citrus and grapefruit.    

Rias Baixas consists of 5 subzones, two of which we are covering today including the Val do Salnes and Condado do Tea.  What I loved learning about the wineries of Rias Baixas is that 50% of the winemakers are women and 2 of the wines today were women winemakers from Fillaboa and Martin Codax.  

Albarino wines from Rias Baixas

2020 Senorio de Rubios Robalino Albarino – Located in the Condado do Tea subzone close to the
Mino river.  The winery has been around for over 100 years and occupies small plots of vineyards.  This and all 3 wines today are made from 100% Albarino.  Brilliant straw colored.  When I poured the wine in the glass a strong grassy scent whaffed out of the glass along with florals and tropical fruits.  This was my favorite of the three and most likely because I love that grassy characteristic in wines that reminds me of Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand.  On the palate citrus including lemon and grapefruit with a hint of peach lingered with a tingly finish. ABV 12.6% SRP $19
2020 Senorio de Rubios Robalino Albarino

2020 Fillaboa Albarino – Another winery located in the Condado do Tea subzone, but a very different style compared to the last as this wine was aged 6  months on the lees lending a whole different mouthfeel to it.  Fillaboa covers over 180 acres with this wine blended from 8 plots of their land.  This wine was straw colored with green hues. The aging with the lees was noticeable to me from the start as I picked up a yeastiness on the nose as well as the finish.  In the glass it the wine showed a slight frothiness from bubbles around the edges although none were present. A very different wine from the other two showing more ripe tropical fruits with a rounder mouthfeel and balanced.  ABV 13% SRP $20

2020 Fillaboa Albarino

2019 Martin Codax Albarino  - This is one of the 6 coops of Rias Baixas made up of over 300 growers.  It is located in the Val do Salnes subzone located right along the sea.  Due to the influence of the sea the area is temperature controlled and a salinity quality can be found in the wines.  Straw colored this wine was crisp and dry on the palette showing lots of citrus from lime to lemon pith.  Straightforward and resfreshing.  ABV 12.5% SRP $15.99

2019 Martin Codax Albarino

Join us live on Twitter this Saturday @ 11am EST at #WorldWineTravel and learn more about this beautiful region.  Follow my fellow food and wine lovers as they share their perspective on the Rias Baixas with some scrumptious food pairings. 


*These wines were provided as samples, but opinions are always my own.


  1. The Robaliño was definitely an enjoyable wine. For me in between the other two. Were you able to pair it with any foods?

  2. It was a fun adventure, wasn't it? Thanks for joining the fun. I completely forgot to mention the bubbles in the Fillboa. Odd.

  3. This was such a fun trip....such a novel idea and the wines were all so different and yet all made with the same grapes. A great study of the importance of terroir and methodology.

  4. Such a fun adventure, right?! And it was really great to see the range of styles!

  5. I was so impressed that Gregory+Vine presented 3 very different Albarinos. Made for a fun comparison!