A group of my friends recently had a small get-together centered around Spanish tapas and wine. I, of course, was responsible for the wine, so I brought a mix of cava, whites, a rosé, reds and a dessert wine—ranging in price from $9 to $22—to represent the country’s diversity and showcase its value. Turns out my friends are mostly red drinkers, but that just meant more of the tasty whites were left for me.
Among the areas of Spain I chose to highlight was Rias Baixas, in the northwest, just north of Portugal, which is known for its Albariño. I thought the Peitán, which retails for $15, made a particularly good party wine; with its appealing vivid peach and citrus character, and a hint of beeswax, it was easy to enjoy without taking my concentration away from the conversation. A light-bodied version of Albariño with a delicately creamy texture and the grape’s characteristic lively acidity, it was versatile with the variety of foods on the table, from the veggie platter to some soft cheeses and a tortilla de patatas, even making a refreshing contrast to the spicy chorizos. My husband and I also enjoyed the remainders that evening with a pea and potato frittata. 87 points, non-blind.
Viña Nora makes another Albariño—the front label simply bears the word "Nora" in big blocky black letters against an orange background—that is also worth checking out. It costs a couple dollars more and can show a bit more depth and weight in its better vintages, such as the 2008.
WineSpectator.com members: Read the original blind-tasting review for Viña Nora Peitán Albariño Rias Baixas 2008 (87, $15).
• Plus, get our quick list of Top Values among Spanish whites.