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Albariño is arguably Spain's most distinctive white grape variety. Its heartlands are in Galicia, in Spain's rain-sodden north-west, and in Portugal`s Vinho Verde region, where it is known as Alvarinho. In the past, it was commonly blended with other local grapes such as Loureiro, Godello, Caiño, Arinto or Treixadura to produce blended wines, but since the mid 1980s the grape's full potential has been realised and now its single variety bottlings are widely appreciated around the world. Its thick skin enables it to do well in the cool and damp climate of Galicia, which is another reason why the variety has attracted keen interest from New Zealand winegrowers hopeful it will prove well-suited to our own not dissimilar growing conditions. High quality Albariño wines can be intensely aromatic with notes of peaches, apricots, almonds and lemon curd on the palate. They have the potential to age gracefully and many growers are now experimenting with oak maturation, though at present most examples are still fermented in stainless steel.

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