Albariño is crisper than Riesling, as aromatic as Gewürztraminer and as lush in the mouth as Viognier. You can find tangy, citrusy, guzzle-me selections handily. Here are five favorites.
Vina Nora Peitan Albariño Rias Baixas 2011
Jim Compton, owner of J Emerson Fine Wines & Cheese, says it's one of the shop's top porch pounders. He's got that right. The day my central air died, I waved a glass of passionfruit and mangos at it, then noticed how the bitter-orange, tonic-water finish of this Albariño summed up the situation.
J Emerson Wine, $15 a bottle
Adegas Gran Vinum Nessa Albariño Rías Baixas, Spain 2010
One tip to selecting wine is to name-check its importer. Nessa's Grapes of Spain logo on the back label proves its pedigree. This is a floral, flashy Albariño with a haunting stoniness, as if it's hiding something only another bottle will find. Belle Vie, $8 a glass
Adega Marea Alta Concertum Albariño Rias Baixas, Spain 2010 This is a blend of Albariño, Godello, Caino Blanco and Treixadura grapes. An easy-to-drink, easy-on-the-bucks wine. There are some sharp edges and a touch of pithy bitter tang, but mostly, the lemongrass wins. Sushi O, $8 a glass
DO Ferreiro Albariño Cepas Vellas Rias Baixas 2011 Cepas Vellas is Galician for old vines, really old vines, like 200 years old. Not only are the grapes dense with flavor, it's aged on the lees, meaning wine nymphs danced in the fermented juice, leaving behind spent cells of marmalade. J Emerson Wine, $45 a bottle
Martin Codax Albariño Rias Baixas, Spain 2011 If you Google this wine, you'll find that it made someone's top 100 list. But do you care? More importantly, Granny Smith apples and peaches should watch their backs. Pineapple, too. Total Wine, $14 a bottle