Updated July 19th 2023
Albariño, also called Alvarinho, pairs well with a wide range of foods, especially from the sea. This grape variety gives high quality fresh white wines with high acidity and citrus aroma, which is ideal for pairing with fish and shellfish. Albariño food pairing also includes cheese, vegetarian dishes and - believe it or not - pork. In this wine guide you will learn more about how to best pair Albariño with food.
When the grape is grown in Spain, it is called Albariño. When grown in Portugal, it is called Alvarinho. This grape variety is an excellent choice for basically anything from the sea. Albariño is also good as an aperitif, with cheese, tapas and with many lighter dishes. Keep reading to find the best dishes for Albariño and Alvarinho.
Albariño and Alvarinho give dry white wines that are characterized by high acidity, crisp minerality and aromas of citrus and flowers. Aromas of stone fruits, such as peach and nectarine, are also common. The grape is know for giving high quality wines with a medium to full-bodied profile.
This grape is mostly grown in Spain and Portugal. In Spain it is grown on the coast of Galicia in the Rías Baixas region. In Portugal it is mostly grown in Monção e Melgaço, within the Vinho Verde region in the Northwest part of the country. The Portuguese and Spanish vineyards are geographically close to each other. Only the Miño/Minho river divides the regions.
Alvarinho is the star grape of Vinho Verde wines. Vinho Verde is not a grape variety or a blend, but a region in northern Portugal bordering the Galicia region of Spain. Alvarinho is often blended with Loureiro, Trajadura, and other grapes to make Vinho Verde blends.
Albariño and Alvarinho are the same grape variety, but grown in different countries. The question is: do the wines taste the same or is there is any difference?
Albariño and Alvarinho are not very different from each other. Both are produced in coastal regions close to the Atlantic ocean. Bright acidity, rocky minerality and mouthwatering citrus flavors are commonly found in these wines. You can also expect to find a delicate floral perfume of white flowers or orange blossom in both Albariño and Alvarinho.
The difference is if you buy a Vinho Verde wine, where Alvarinho is blended with other grape varieties. When you buy a single varietal Alvarinho, you can expect a full-bodied wine with high acidity and distinct minerality. A Vinho Verde blend, however, is often lighter, with lower alcohol. “Vinho Verde” means “Green wine” which is a young wine that often has a fizzy texture and floral and fruity aromas.
Albariño / Alvarinho has some similarities with Chardonnay, but the wines can also be quite different.
Tips! If you want to find out which is the best food for Chardonnay, we recommend our wine guide Chardonnay Food Pairing
Albariño is an excellent choice for seafood and fish. Wine made from this grape pairs well with many different types of food thanks to its high acidity and minerality. It is also a great match with different types of cheeses, snacks and lighter food dishes.
In order to find the best food pairing for Albariño / Alvarinho, you need to consider the following characteristics of the wine:
Albariño / Alvarinho should always be served cold. The ideal serving temperature is 7-10°C (45-48°F).
The crisp and fresh aromas of Albariño / Alvarinho make it a perfect paring with many seafood dishes. The grape is grown close to the Atlantic Ocean and local seafood is a great food choice. Mussels, oysters, clams, scallops and shrimps - basically all types of shellfish will pair well with Albariño / Alvarinho.
The wine is usually medium or full-bodied which makes it a good choice for lobster, crab and other richer seafood dishes. The salty minerality makes it a good choice for oysters.
Albariño / Alvarinho will pair well with any shellfish dish, such as:
Albariño / Alvarinho is also a very good choice for different fish dishes. This high-quality grape can be paired with lighter fish dishes as well as heaver ones. Grilled or baked fatty fish will taste wonderful with an Albariño / Alvarinho.
Good fish dishes for Albariño are:
Tips! Try an Albariño or Alvarinho with deep-fried fish. The high acidity in the wine will cut though the fat in the food which makes it a delicious pairing.
Albariño / Alvarinho pairs very well with octopus. Any octopus dish (salad, rice, grilled or baked) will match the rich texture of the wine. Octopus dishes with lots of olive oil will be balanced by the fresh acidity of the wine.
Albariño / Alvarinho is a great choice for different types of tomato soups, including gazpacho. Tomato soups can be made in many different ways with different seasonings, but they always have high acidity from the tomatoes. The acidity in the soup will match the high acidity in the wine.
Albariño / Alvarinho is a good choice for many Japanese dishes, especially sushi. The minerality and acidity in the wine will balance the fat and salt in the fish. The fruity aromas will also match the slightly sweet sushi rice.
Albariño and Alvarinho pair well with:
Light and creamy cheeses pair well with Albariño / Alvarinho. The crisp acidity and richness of the wine make it possible to pair with semi-soft cheeses like Gruyère.
Good cheese pairings for Albariño / Alvarinho are:
Tips! In our wine and cheese guide you can read more about different types of cheeses and their perfect wine pairings.
The high acidity, citrus aromas and minerality make Albariño / Alvarinho a great wine for many different types of finger foods and snacks. Try it with tapas or appetisers containing seafood. Albariño and Alvarinho are also good to drink by itself an aperitif.
Albariño / Alvarinho is a great choice for many vegetarian dishes. The dry style pairs well with the following vegetarian dishes:
Albariño / Alvarinho is one of the best wine choices for pasta dishes with seafood. Shrimps, clams or mussels in cream, olive oil or lemon juice will taste very well with a glass of Albariño / Alvarinho. Try the wine with pasta alle vongole!
Albariño / Alvarinho also pairs well with lighter chicken dishes, especially if the chicken is seasoned with herbs, garlic and/or lemon. The acidity in the wine makes it a good choice for chicken dishes with cream and/or white wine.
The classic pairing for Albariño / Alvarinho is seafood, but it can be possible to drink it with pork dishes. Heavier and more full-bodied versions of the grape can be a good option to go with pork dishes.
Enjoy your food and wine!