Albariño (ES) / Alvarinho (PT)
Variety: white | Category I | Portugal/Spain
Origin: Grapevine variety from the North-West of Iberia. Albariño translates as the "small white one from the Rhine", and it has long been assumed to be related to the Riesling. According to legend, between the 11th and 13th centuries it was brought by monks from Germany or France to Galicia via the Pilgrim route to Santiago de Compostella (Way of Saint James). Recent evidence seems to indicate, however, that Albariño is a regional variety, although it is unclear whether it originated in Minho or Galicia. A DNA analysis reveals a closer relationship to the Portuguese Malvasia Fina variety. Lacerda Lobo (1790) classified the variety in the sub-region of Melgaço (Minho). Gyrão (1822) was aware of the variety in the North of Minho, a sub-region of Monção, and in Galicia (Rias Baixas) (ES), which was hardly held in high regard at the time.
Chief areas of distribution: Sub-region of Monção, Rias Baixas.
Official synonym(s) (national and OIV): Albariño (ES).
Historic and regional synonyms: Galego, Galeguinho (Ponte de Lima). Truel (1986) refers to the Cainho Branco.
Homonym(s): Albarín blanco (Asturia).
Area under cultivation: 1,800 ha (PT) and 4,500 ha (ES)
Trend: Strong upward.
Varietal variability: Intermediate.
Availability of propagating material: RNSV polyclonal material, certified clone 44 - 47 ISA, 42, 43 JBP. Clones have also been selected and approved in Spain (e.g. A-062 and A-123.)
Molecular Profile (OIV)
Young shoot (form of tip): Open, very dense, fuzzy hairs, white, with very red tip.
Young leaf: Yellow with bronze spots, very furled, hairy on the lower side, fluffy on the upper side.
Inflorescence (sex of flower): Hermaphrodite.
Young shoot: Nodes and internodes reddish on the dorsal side and green on the ventral side. Strong anthocyanin colouration of buds, horizontal attitude.
Mature leaf: Small, circular, unnotched, furled, medium green, medium blistering on upper surface of blade. Short, convex teeth. Open V-shaped petiolar sinus, open V-shaped upper lateral sinuses. Hairs on lower side of blade. Fluffy hairs on petiole. Petiole longer than main vein.
Bunch: Small size, small wing, often 2 wings, medium density, long peduncle.
Berry: Not uniform, of medium size, round, yellowish, soft flesh, particular taste.
Time of bud burst: Normal (second half of March).
Flowering: Normal (end of May).
Berry (harvest ripe): Normal (first half of August).
Vigour of shoot growth: High.
Pruning weight:: 1,800 – 2,500 kg/ha, depending on the clone and soil conditions.
Shoot attitude (habit): Semi-erect and horizontal.
Length of internodes: Long, buds of medium size.
Shoot length: Few in number, long, some plagiotropic and very long.
Tendency to form lateral shoots: Fairly low.
Bud fertility index: High. On average, 1.8 flowers per shoot. Normally three buds per node. (Shoots from basal buds are less fertile.)
Yield: Traditional material produces low yields. Selected clones using an appropriate trellising system result in medium to good yields (7,500 – 12,000 kg/ha). (RNSV statistical value: 6.07 kg/vine (Average of at least 40 clones in Monção over 9 years).
Yield consistency: Consistent.
Crop uniformity: Low.
Winkler Index: 1,583 for an 11 t/ha yield (Montemor).
Recommended yield: 6,000 l/ha.
Sensitivity to abiotic factors: Susceptible to drought stress, tolerant of strong wind and sunlight.
Susceptibility to fungal diseases: Susceptible to Oidium and Peronospora, somewhat susceptible to Esca, less susceptible to Botrytis.
Systemic viral infection prior to selection: 93% GLRaV-3, < 50% RSPV.
Susceptibility to Pests: Susceptible to Erinosis.
Bunch size: Very small (Average size varies with clone; 90 -150g in hot areas, can increase to 200 g in humid areas).
Bunch density: Loose to medium density.
Bunch weight: Small to medium (1. 2 – 1.3 g).
Berry size: Medium thickness, with long pedicel. Flesh soft, very juicy, distinctive taste.
Seeds per berry: 2.5.
Vineyard conduction system: Long shoots, whether cane pruned or spur pruned, result in lower yield.
Soil requirement: Prefers the granite and slate soils of Monção, adapts well to less heavy soils, although not to badly drained clay soils.
Climatic requirements: High number of sunshine hours, moderate relative humidity.
Vine density: Spacing of 1 m between vines, rows 2.5 m apart.
Irrigation: Recommended in dry regions.
Incidence of coulure/millerandage: Low coulure; millerandage occurs.
Spoilage of mature berries: Very minimal.
Risk of bird damage: Very low.
Machine harvest suitability: Possible at lower temperatures.
Wine type: Table wine of the highest quality, sparkling wine, and brandy.
Potential alcohol content: High, 12% vol. RNSV statistical value: 12.57% vol. (Average of at least 40 clones registered in Monção over 9 years).
Natural acidity of must: High (5.5 – 7 mg/l). (RNSV statistical value: 9.29 g/l (Average of at least 40 clones registered in Monção over 9 years).
Risk of oxidation of must: Medium.
Colour intensity of wine: Intense
Wine colour tonality: Intense straw colour, with citrus colour reflexes.
Tannins: Monomeric 4.0 – 18.0 mg/l; Oligomeric 11.0 – 180.0 mg/l; Polymeric 47.0 – 739.0 mg/l (fermentation with stems).
Risk of oxidation of wine: Medium.
Aromatic profile: According to organoleptic analysis (Cerdeira, 2004), flowery, hints of orchard fruits and tropical fruits, with excellent structure and sustainability.
Ageing Potential: ery good: up to 10 years. Also well suited to barrel ageing.
Blending recommendation: Trajadura.
Suitable as a varietal: Normally very suitable.
Wine Descriptors: Its suitability as a varietal is borne out by its straw colour and lemon yellow reflexes. It has an intense, distinctly noble and ample aroma which ranges from quince to peach, banana, lemon, passion fruit and lychee (fruit aroma), to orange flowers and violets (floral aroma), but is also reminiscent of hazel nut, walnut (nutty tones) and honey. Thus, the wine gives an unusually rich and multifaceted overall and sustained finish. (Mota, Garrido, 2001)
Wine quality: Very high. Pilot grapevine variety.
Variety Characteristics: Pilot grapevine variety, only produced on long shoots. Because of its characteristics, it is ranked amongst the most important wine varieties in the world, as well as being the noblest variety in the demarcated regions of Vinho Verde and Rias Baixa, and elsewhere. It was from the Rias Baixas that the first wines were exported to England in the Middle Ages.