Verdejo is a white wine that originated in Northern Africa. Verdejo made its way north to the Rueda region in central Spain, where it has been used in winemaking since the 11th century. Here, it has thrived for centuries, with some of its vines even surviving the phylloxera outbreak that devastated Europe.
Verdejo is a fantastic alternative for those who enjoy wines such as Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Grigio, but shouldn’t be confused with the two: it offers its own unique flavor profile. Verdejo wines can be lean and light-bodied with mineral notes, or medium-bodied with a touch of oak. Light-bodied, mineral-like Verdejo is bright and aromatic, with citrus fruit and melon flavors and aromas alongside a soft, food-friendly acidity. It often has a light grass and fennel finish, which makes it an incredible accompaniment to dishes filled with fresh herbs. Medium-bodied Verdejo often has had contact with oak, which lends richness and a creamy texture to the wine. These wines can also have notes of almond or lemon.
Albariño is a white wine grown in the Spanish region of Galicia and in neighboring Portugal (where it is known as Alvarinho or Cainho Branco). It is believed to have been brought to the Iberian peninsula by Cluny monks in the 12th century.
The name Albariño comes from the word albar, which means “white” or “white-ish.” Indeed, light-bodied Albariño can at times be nearly “white” compared to the deeper colors of other white wines, such as Chardonnay. The color should not be confused with a lack of aromas or flavors, however: Albariño can have notes of yellow peach, lime, kiwi, and clover honey alongside golden apple and saline minerals.
Albariño is grown near the coast, so it naturally pairs well with seafood and white meats. Its acidity also makes it pair well with fried foods, such as calamari, and cuts the richness of foods such as avocado. Try it with crab cakes, cobb salad, or seafood tacos.