wine / from our partner

Why Albariño From Rias Baixas, Spain Is the Perfect Wedding Wine

By The ThirstyNest Editors

From Our Partner / Rias Baixas

An unforgettable wedding is all about the food – and wine. The fantasy dress, the romantic venue, the perfect weather. All these facets of the big day can make or break the experience. But what do guests really discuss after the sun rises and they head home? The food – and wine. Though wine should never be an afterthought, budgets inevitably get divvied up between a million bank-draining details. Fortunately, there’s a solution for a versatile sipper that’s not only thrilling and flavorful but affordable: Albariño from Rias Baixas.

Albariño thrives in Galicia, a cool region hugging the northwestern tip of Spain. Often called “Green Spain,” the area’s abundant rainfall encourages the kind of rock-covered moss and leafy trees one imagines in Scotland. Locals practically scoop shellfish from the sea with their hands, washing it down with buckets of the local white wine Albariño.

Albariño from Rias Baixas, Galicia’s predominant wine region, is typically bone-dry, fresh, aromatic, and medium-bodied with moderate alcohol. However, the grape also expresses the subtle flavor and stylistic differences of the individual sub-regions where it’s grown. For example, from the sub-region of Val do Salnés, Albariño evokes melon, while from O Rosal, it hints at white peach.

Albariño pairs well with myriad wedding foods because it blends the best qualities of three popular wines: the body of Chardonnay with the crisp minerality of Pinot Grigio and the perfume of Riesling. Whether pairing it as an aperitif with oysters or roasted vegetables from the “carving” station, there’s an Albariño for every food and occasion.

Our Favorite Wedding Food Trends and Albariño Wine Pairings

1. Plant-based Menus:

More couples are ditching meat at receptions. For some, it’s an ethical choice; for others, it’s about health, lifestyle, or even cultural background. With the rise of farm-fresh produce in practically every nook of the country, it’s easier than ever to source great ingredients. From roasted carrots, to cauliflower steaks and vegetable carving stations, just about every fête offers some form of creative vegetarian cuisine. Wine: Medium-bodied with vibrant citrus and melon notes, Valmiñor Albariño complements a variety of fruits, vegetables, and vegan dishes. Pour this as an aperitif, during dinner, or throughout the evening.

2. Oyster Boats:

Nothing says romance and luxury like an abundance of fresh-shucked oysters arrayed across glittering, diamond-like ice. Whether a chef shucks to order, or the salt-water bivalves are prepared in advance, guests love standing around slurping down these little aphrodisiacs. Wine: The crystalline, mineral-soaked Laxas Albariño pairs perfectly with seafood and oysters. Display a few bottles in ice buckets to show guests the thoughtful wine pairing.

3. Open Fire Pit:

For a crisp fall wedding or coastal summer affair, a fire pit brims with literal and figurative warmth while serving double-duty as a cooking vessel. Hire a chef or pit master to smother pork chops or vegetables beneath bricks in the ash; throw brochettes of shrimp over hot coals, or simply hand out s'mores kits and sticks. There are many ways to incorporate open flames into your event. Wine: Paco & Lola offers a medium-bodied wine with floral notes and tropical fruit flavors. Serve this crowd-pleaser throughout the day – or night, but especially near the warmth of a fire.

4. Exotic Fruit Stations:

The days of skewered strawberries and corny pineapple towers are gone. Instead, inventive couples looking to add flair to healthier fruit-based desserts have pivoted to beautiful – and delicious -- exotic options. Think tart passion fruit, fuchsia-colored dragon fruit, perfumed papaya and creamy mango lassis. Wine: Condes de Albarei offers fabulous value for a wedding. The melon, mango, and stone fruit flavors in this juicy wine complement a range of dessert creations.

5. Raclette:

Late-night snacks and platters are popping up at weddings everywhere. Of course, anything served well into the evening phase of drinking and dancing must be salty, gooey, and full of fat. To wit, the raclette bar, where guests can smother warm melted cheese atop chewy bread layered with pickled vegetables and charcuterie. Wine: La Val Albariño offers lovely green herbaceous notes plumped with stone fruit and lemon. With its undercurrent of racy acidity, the wine cuts neatly through the richness of raclette.

6. Donut Walls:

The donut will never go out of style. In fact, these round sweet treats boast more stamina than the ubiquitous cupcake. Lately, couples serve them with an unusual twist: hanging from pegs on a wall. Guests can munch on as many as they like while snapping pics of the IG-ready display. Flavors range from traditional cake donuts to cinnamon and maple bacon, even glazing them in shades of rhubarb, raspberry, and cherry to create a pink ombré. Wine: Crisp and round, the Terra de Asorei's Nai offers rich fruitiness and an aromatic intensity full of fresh-cut herbs, pear, and apple. These invigorating flavors serve as foil to decadent donuts.

7. Local, Seasonal, Sustainable:

The “local, seasonal, sustainable” restaurant trend has moved firmly into wedding territory. Couples marrying during autumn in the northeast serve harvest foods like butternut squash, apple pie, and grass-fed beef. In the Pacific Northwest, brides showcase heirloom beans, sweet peas, and cedar-planked salmon, even going all-in on a salmon bake. Wine: Santiago Ruiz makes beautiful, textured wines from a blend of traditional grapes. The wine’s lemon verbena flavor and crunchy mineral character marry well with all manner of foods, making it eminently versatile wherever you tie the knot.

8. Colorful, textured wedding cakes with nature-driven designs:

The traditional tiered wedding cake wrapped in smooth layers of white fondant will never go out of style. However, brides looking for creative alternatives are adding colors and texture to designs. From lace, lattice, polka dots to swirls, colors inside and out include pinks, yellows, orange and green. Adornments from the landscape like cactus flowers in the southwest and apple blossoms in the northeast, tie in location. The perfect wine to complement the trend: Adega Pazos de Lusco ‘Lusco’ for its fresh, mineral-driven palate with notes of flowers and golden apple. A creamy, textured palate lends complexity and echoes the cake.

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