While Spain’s sun-drenched reds have garnered international attention decades, the country’s native whites are on the rise with plenty of varieties on retail shelves just in time for spring to summer sipping. Grown in the cooler “green region” of Rias Baixas, Albarino (a native grape variety) lays claim to some of the country’s best whites. Cooler temperatures tempered by ocean breezes allow Albarino producers to make refreshing whites with aromatic peach, lemon, kiwi and floral notes that pair well with fish, seafood or even a simple spring salad. Hint: If you like Pinot Gris, you are going to love Albarino! Further east along the Duero River, the Rueda region specializes in intensely fruity wines made using the Verdejo grape. Juicy and soft, the wines have lots of character with passion fruit and floral edge that makes them one of Spain’s most enjoyable white varieties. You can ask for both of these wines, Albarino and Verdejo, by (grape) name the next time you visit your local wine store.
You may have heard about the great reds from Rioja, Spain, but have you ever tried a white from the same region? Crafted from Viura or perhaps a blend of Viura and Garnacha Blanc, white Rioja wines are dry, refreshing quaffing wines that are easy on the palate and the budget which makes them a great choice for large gatherings. If bubbles are of interest, be sure to explore the bubbles of Cava. Produced mostly from grapes grown in the north near Barcelona, Cava is bubbly, refreshing and adds a festive zest to any party without breaking the bank.
If you are a Chardonnay lover, try reaching for a Spanish-made bottle this spring. While many Spanish whites are made using local grapes, Chardonnay (French) has been translated into northern vineyards and into the hands of eager winemakers of Costers del Degre and Navarra. Spanish Chardonnay can be oaked or unoaked and is typically ready to drink without aging.
Spain’s passion for food and wine makes it a great country to explore. This spring make it a point to buy a bottle or two, call up a few friends, and enjoy a glass of vino blanco alongside some simple tapas. Together you will discover the rich history and sunny flavors captured in every glass – one sunny sip at a time. Cheers!