Albariño, the #1 Alternative to Chardonnay, According to Mark Oldman

Award-winning wine author Mark Oldman claims Albariño from DO Rías Baixas in Galicia, Spain is his favorite white wine!

Albariño combines bright aromas with natural minerality, crisp acidity & layers of complexity allowing them to pair with a range of cuisine. From Byblos in South Beath, Miami, Mark gives us an inside look into the versatility of the Albariño grape and explains why it is the #1 alternative to Chardonnay.


Albariño, the #1 Alternative to Chardonnay, According to Mark Oldman.


The Daily Meal says try Albarino instead of Chardonnay

Elaine and Scott Harris 

Leo Tolstoy opined “True life is lived when tiny changes occur.” Those changes can be as subtle as altering one’s everyday wine habit. Many people are quick to reach for that glass of go-to chardonnay as day turns into dusk, but how about trying something a little different in 2017? Get out of the wine rut and venture into the world of Spanish whites. You may be pleasantly surprised.

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Making a Case for Winter Whites

Anne Kniggendorf

Have you ever stopped to wonder why we gift boxes of melt-in-your-mouth pears wrapped in gold foil each holiday season? They’re a summer fruit, yet no one ever responds with an incredulous, “Hey, I don’t eat fruit in winter!”

The finest, simplest pleasures defy season. What do you want to drink with your pear once you peel back the foil? You’d never reach for a red; you want a glass of white wine. And you’re one lucky snowbird if you can fill a glass with an Albariño from Rías Baixas.


White wines don’t cease to exist when the majority of your friends blow the dust off their merlots and tempranillos that day in mid-November when they fluff their down jackets. Of course, they’re just thinking of comfort food pairings, like fatty red meats or rich pasta dishes.

But how winter leisure takes on new dimensions once a white graces the table, whether that be alongside your dish of caramelized pears or as a counterbalance to the local cheese platter you’re offering guests.

And heartier foods? It’s the crisp acidity and underlying minerality that makes pairing an Albariño with a holiday turkey or ham a given. Albariño is defined by its DO: Rías Baixas. Many wine lovers are tempted to call Albariño “summer in a bottle,” but that only goes as far as saying the same of your golden pear.

The name Rías Baixas BODEGA DE PAZO DE SAN MAURO O CONDADOmeans “lower rias” in Galician, a language spoken in Northwestern Spain where fjord-like estuaries forge through mineral-rich alluvial soil, mixing fresh and briny waters. One of the original Celtic tribes, the Galician people are fair-haired, blue-eyed, and their land is emerald green. It’s a cool, Atlantic clime and the growing season resembles the Loire Valley, New Zealand and the Rhine — regions as known for their white wines as Rías Baixas.

The play of the firelight through crystal filled with white wine, will warm you as much as any red ever might — it’s the warmth and excitement of a new experience, new love, and endless possibilities of the season. So get more out of your white wine in every season, and pour a glass of Rías Baixas Albariño.

Anne Kniggendorf is a Midwest-based writer who regularly contributes to the Kansas City Star. Her work has also appeared in the Smithsonian, the Saturday Evening Post, and several book review journals. 

Wine Survey Reveals

The truth about white wine – Rías Baixas gets a 99% approval rating!

VinePair sheds light on how we really feel about white wines. Are they just for warm weather or do we drink them year-round? What do we like most about white wines? And with so many great whites to choose from which wines stand apart from the pack? 1,000 wine-savvy VinePair readers ranging in age from millennials to boomers participated in a survey commissioned by DO Rías Baixas.

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  • We drink white wines all year – and it turns out we drink quite a lot of them. So what if it’s cold outside! 79% of readers drink white wine year-round, and multiple times monthly.
  • What we like about white wines. An overwhelming 85% of VinePair respondents reported that white wine is “refreshing and easy to drink.” 59% cited that “white wine pairs well with food,” while half of those surveyed noted that they “love drinking it on its own,” and that “it doesn’t taste heavy.”
  • We’re willing to spend for the right bottle of white wine. Given the strong preferences expressed for white wines, it’s not surprising that readers will spend a little extra. 85% of those surveyed spend at least $10-$15 per bottle, with 26% spending up to $15-$20 on average.
  • We’re “worldly” and adventurous in our choices. Sauvignon Blanc was the top choice for readers in ranking their favorite white grape variety, but Pinot Grigio, Riesling, Albariño, Viognier, Chardonnay and Chenin Blanc were all comparably ranked.
  • A white wine from Spain can get a 99% approval rating! Over two-thirds of those polled had tried Albariño from Rías Baixas, and of that number 95% “loved it” (40%) or “liked it” (55%). Overall, 99% of readers “approved” of Albariño from Rías Baixas, ranking it high in popularity with other world-class whites.

Visit VinePair to learn more!