We’re not dumping on go-to summer sippers like Chardonnay or Rosé, but sometimes you just need something a little different to refresh your palate and cool your head. Not only is Albariño a crisp and refreshing twist for hot nights and barbecued fish tacos, it’s also plentiful in Paso Robles Wine Country. This summer, taste from 25 passionate boutique Albariño producers at three unique events uncorking across the area June 16-17 for the Festival of Albariño. Here’s five good reasons why this white is totally poised to become your top 2017 summer jam. Ole!
1. A Rising Star
Like that great underground band overshadowed by Top 40 radio hits, Albariño doesn’t always get the credit it deserves. However, and luckily for us in Paso Robles, its star is on the rise. With award winning producers crafting world class vintages that speak to the varietal’s refreshing and compelling characteristics, now is the time to fall in love with this bright white grape originally grown in Spanish and Portuguese soil. Get educated: Want to learn more about the history and characteristics of great Albariño? Hit up the Second Annual Albariño Summit, held at 10 a.m. on Saturday, June 17 at Derby Wine Estates. Discover what makes this grape great with help from an expert tasting panel and educational tasting seminar.
Mapping and Directions to Derby Wine Estates: speedfind.com/DerbyWineEstates
2. It’s Incredibly Food Friendly
With a botanical aroma similar to Viognier or Gewurztraminer, flavors of apricot and peach, a light body, and tons of fresh acidity, pairing Albariño is a breeze. Taste the flavor: Experience this truth for yourself at a Starlit Albariño Dinner hosted at Brecon Estate Friday, June 16 at 6 p.m. under majestic oaks. Dine with top winemakers who will be pairing their Albariños with the fresh, local delectable creations of Crush Catering.
Mapping and Directions to Brecon Estate: speedfind.com/BreconEstate
3. No One-Hit Wonder
Hot days and steamier nights call for chilled white wine, but not just any white wine will do in Paso Robles Wine Country. You might think you can taste one Albariño and know them all, but you couldn’t be farther from the truth. Explore the possibilities: Experience layers of delicate, juicy, acidic, and floral flavors during a diverse Grand Tasting slated for 3 p.m. on Saturday, June 17 at Broken Earth Winery. Absolutely nowhere else can you sample so many Central Coast Albariños in one place, and these are all most exclusively small producers, too. Who’s pouring? Well, Brecon Estate, Bodega de Edgar, Clavo Cellars, Broken Earth Winery, Opolo and Tooth and Nail Winery to start! They may all pour very different tasting wines, but one common thread remains: All are dedicated to propelling Albariño into the limelight.
Mapping and Directions to Broken Earth Winery: speedfind.com/BrokenEarthWinery
4. Easy Drinking
Picnics call for a no-fuss wine that’s drinkable as all get out. Albariño is that perfect varietal with enough complex flavor to pull you in, but the high acidity and freshness will keep you searching for that next quenching sip. Picnic like an Albariño Pro: Arrive up to two hours early at the Grand Tasting at Broken Earth Winery Saturday, July 17 and enjoy a Grand Picnic under the shady trees. Award winning food trucks, including the Lobos Truck from Los Angeles, will feature a variety of eats. Plus, shake a tail father with music from Ricky Montijo and the Mojtos from 1 to 4 p.m.!
5. Dare to be Different
You’re not the average, run of the mill wine taster, so why should your wine be blah? Shake up your taste buds and try something new. Happiness scientists have long since known that taking a break with routine and jumping into a fresh realm is good for the soul. Experience a whole new world of wine, Albariño style. Sample a splash from these award-winning wineries pouring at the festival:
2016 Brecon Estate True Acacia Head Acacia Head Albariño
True Acacia Head is a single vineyard offering and features two clones from what is the oldest planting of Albariño in the Central Coast. What really differentiates this wine is the use of Acacia wood on the heads of the barrels during fermentation. This adds a little structure to the wines and a white peach character to the nose, while minimizing the toasty and vanilla characters associated with oak.
2016 Brecon Estate Albariño
This wine is a superb example of a crisp refreshing cool climate Albariño, with fruit sourced from a vineyard just 1.8 miles from the ocean. In its homeland in Northern Portugal and Spain, the best examples are perceived to come from close to the ocean. Indeed, vintages from Brecon have more than once scored 96 points.
Bodega de Edgar
2016 Bodegas Paso Robles Galicia – Albariño
This classic, crisp Albariño from Bodegas Paso Robles has hints of apricot on the nose and pineapple and grapefruit on the palate. The mouth feel is very round and full before the crisp finish. The 2016 Galicia is a dry, refreshing wine with a great acid balance. It’s perfect for sipping on hot summer days. The 2016 vintage pairs beautifully with Dungeness crab, fish tacos, spicy Thai food, seafood-based paella, sea bass, spring rolls, risotto, chicken, crab and avocado salad, peach cobbler, artichoke, and desserts such as fruit tarts, rice pudding, flan, fresh fruit, and sweet cakes.
2012 Clavo Cellars Albariño
Fresh and appealing, this Clavo Cellars Albariño charges your sense with concentrated aromatics of green bananas and ripe apricots. Light and crisp with good acidity, lively structure, and an edgy spiciniess on the finish, this wine pairs well with tapas, paella, pasta and ristottos.
2016 Opolo Vineyards Albariño
With grapes sourced from California’s famed Edna Valley, this Albarino opens with vibrant aromas of citrus blossoms, lemon zest, and grapefruit. White peach, apricot, and fresh spring flowers assault the palate and glide into a polished mineral laden finish.
Get Your Tickets Before They Sell Out!
Last year’s inaugural Albariño Summit was a huge hit and sold out almost immediately. This year, the Albariño Summit has expanded into three unique experiences, so don’t miss out! Click here to get your tickets today.
Email Albariñosummit@gmail.com if you have any questions. See you at the festival!
This blog was written by Hayley Thomas Cain, food and wine writer for SLO New Times and PasoRoblesWineries.net. You can reach her at email@example.com or follow her on instagram @flavorslo.
If you’re looking for a place to spend the night in Paso Robles, checkout:
The Adelaide Inn is an iconic, locally owned hotel known for its friendly staff and lush landscaping. With spacious rooms and a convenient location close to highway 101 and the event center – home of the California Mid-State Fair – this hotel is a great choice for most travelers.
Majestically set among vineyards, olive groves and fruit baring orchards, the 20-acre Allegretto Vineyard Resort is a world unto itself, offering breathtaking settings that inspire and bring joy to all who choose this memorable wine country haven. Featuring 171 rooms and suites, on-site spa, grand ballroom, wine tasting room, and inspired culinary creations at Cello, the resort’s full service restaurant.
La Bellasera Hotel & Suites is an elegant boutique hotel nestled in the heart of Central Coast Wine Country. Influenced by Mediterranean and Italian architecture, the luxurious accommodations reflect the aged sophistication of the Central Coast region and the relaxed nature of the California countryside.
Hampton Inn & Suites Paso Robles is nestled in the Central Coast wine region, home to over 200 wineries, beautiful beaches, mountains and diverse attractions. Relax and revive in a comfortable guest room with all you need for a successful stay. You can count on Hampton to deliver value, consistency and service with a smile. We love having you here®
Experience the pristine countryside of Paso Robles Wine Country at Lekai Ranch. Lounge on the porch of your private suite and lose yourself in the tranquility and stunning views of the vineyards and oak studded hills beyond. This vacation rental is located just minutes from some of the most distinguished wineries and a premier olive oil estate, and only 15 minutes from downtown Paso Robles’ restaurants, wineries and shopping.
Enjoy the elegance, style and natural beauty of California’s Central Coast at the JUST Inn®. Surrounded by vineyards, our JUST Inn Suites offer luxurious appointments like fireplaces, Tempur-Pedic®mattresses, Frette linens, hydro-spa tubs, and range in size from 600–1,200 square feet. An overnight stay includes breakfast and a tour of the winery and caves.