Other Whites

I think of Albariño and Vinho Verde wines as unknown white wines. Almost like the siblings of celebrities. Imagine being the twin sister of Gisele Bundchen? That has got to be tough. Same genes, brought up in the same house. For the record, her name is Patricia. (Gisele has other sisters, too.) But most of the world does not know she exists. The same holds true for these two white wines. They are made from grapes and produced in famous wine regions, yet most people here in the U.S. are not familiar with them. Another white grape variety that is relatively unknown is Vermentino, from Sardinia. I have only tried one winery’s version and I really liked it and pick it up every so often.
These three wines were introduced to me at wine tastings, so a reminder to go to free wine tastings or seminars whenever you can.
Albariño is the name for the grape that the wine is made from in Spain. In Portugal, the same grape is known as Alvarinho. These names are derived from the Latin “albus” which means “white.” Go figure. This grape is a possible relative of Riesling or a French grape called Petit Manseng, which I never heard of. I guess when you come right down to it, we are all related and all grapes must be related in one way or another as well. (Yes. I used the word ‘must’ on purpose.)
You can google these wines to learn more online, or you can go to your local retailer and ask if they carry these wines and the sales staff can make recommendations for you.
I have tried a lot of Albariño, and my favorite one is the Martín Códax Albariño from the Rías Baixas region of Spain. I have friended the winery on Facebook because I like this wine so much. This is a wine you can drink year-round in place of the standards of Chardonnay, Pinot Grigio, or Sauvignon Blanc. You can drink it by itself or paired with traditional seafood, cheese or fruit. I think of it as a refreshing alternative. It has a slight citrus zest to it, with notes of apple. At least to me. You might try it and think it is peachy or has a melon note. We all taste something a little different. But you really should try it. Most stores will sell this for between $15 and $20. Look for it on sale and you might score it for $13 somewhere. This wine may be on the wine list of your favorite restaurant. Look for it!
Near where I live, there is a large population of Portuguese people. They already know about Vinho Verde wine. The name means “green wine” and is widely produced. Some things get lost in translation, and the meaning is actually “young wine.” It is typically bottled and consumed quickly. Here is the good news: this wine is not expensive. Even better, it is absolutely affordable. Not to be confused with “cheap.” These bottles can be found for less than $8 in almost any variety store or liquor store. You can also pair this with any food you would have with white wine. This light white wine is great if you are going to be outside all day in the sun or if you think you may be enjoying cocktails for hours. Yes, I really do consider this to be “fortified water.” Be careful. They also make $30 bottles of this wine. If we were spending $30 on a bottle of wine, I think we would most likely get something else. Look for Casal Garcia everywhere at around $5 a bottle.
The island of Sardinia is in the Mediterranean and is considered the home of some of the happiest and healthiest people. In addition to their lifestyle, I think drinking the wine there helps. I have not been to Sardinia, but maybe one day I will. Argiolas is the most widely recognized wine estate on the island.
Costamolino, named for the area, is made from Vermentino, an aromatic white grape variety that thrives in the Mediterranean climate. Costamolino has a unique flavor palate that has a blend of outdoorsy smells and notes (herbal?), with a fruit and citrus finish. I love Greek food and Italian food and would have this bottle with tapenade, lamb, olives or lemons, chicken parmesan and loaves and loaves of fresh bread. This wine is usually sold for between $18 and $20 a bottle, which is at the high end of my budget for a white wine. Look for any of the Argiolas wines if you want to try a different wine for a change of pace.
In closing, I am always open to trying new things. Especially wine! If you know of any gems, please let me know. As far as hashtags go, I am clueless. But I will say try and buy any Vinho Verde; the Martin Codax Albariño, and the Argiolas Costamolino. Cheers!