Getting to know Albariño–an intriguing white wine

Getting to know Albariño–an intriguing white wine–is a great way to explore a less well-known varietal that is definitely worth discovering!

Biltmore Estate Albariño with oysters on the half shell
Known as vin de mar or “wine of the sea,” Albariño is a perfect partner with oysters and other seafood

Origins of the wine

Prized for its bright acidity and characteristic hints of coastal brine, Albariño is white varietal that probably originated in Galicia on the Iberian Peninsula of northwestern Spain, where some still refer to it as vino del mar or “wine of the sea.”

In neighboring Portugal, the grape is known as Alvarinho. Both names are a reference to the grape’s white color.

Growing conditions

California partner vineyard
Partner vineyards in California

Although some Albariño vines in Europe are estimated to be as much as 300 years old, the varietal is a relative newcomer to North America, with only about 300 acres in cultivation in California’s Central Coast region.

It’s also grown in Australia and South America, but it thrives in cool, foggy climates similar to the Iberian coast that experiences frequent Atlantic storms. While its characteristic sturdy stems and thick skin offer protection from the elements, Albariño vines are usually trained on an overhead trellis that allows better air circulation around the grapes and leaves.

Biltmore Estate Albariño

Biltmore Estate Albariño white wine
Our new Biltmore Estate Albariño is an intriguing white wine that pairs especially well with seafood dishes

“For our new Biltmore Estate Albariño, I selected grapes from our California vineyard partners who are producing excellent fruit,” said Sharon Fenchak, Biltmore winemaker.

“Albariño is an intriguing white wine, and I was interested in getting to the heart of what makes it so distinctive,” Sharon said. “Plus, I wanted to give our Biltmore wine enthusiasts the delightful discovery of a wine that’s not as familiar to them.”

Sharon handcrafted a bright straw-colored wine that features fresh aromas of spice and tropical fruit. In addition to notes of ruby red grapefruit and pepper, this crisp and refreshing light-bodied Albariño offers a round creaminess with good mouthfeel.

Getting to know Albariño

Biltmore Estate white wine with pesto shrimp
Savor our new Albariño with your favorite seafood dishes like this delicious shrimp with pesto sauce

“It’s more complex than you might suspect at first,” noted Sharon. “I think it’s the slight hint of salinity that elevates the other flavors, and makes you want to taste it again and again to really understand the subtleties of Albariño.”

To make the most of its coastal complexities, Sharon suggests savoring our new Biltmore Estate Albariño with seafood dishes such as bacon-wrapped scallops, fried grouper, and classic Spanish-style paella. For vegetarian pairings, consider baked butternut squash and pesto pasta.

The following recipe showcases Biltmore Estate Albariño as both an ingredient and a perfect pairing for this simple yet sophisticated dish!

Biltmore Estate Albariño with grilled oysters
Biltmore Estate Albariño paired with grilled oysters

Grilled Oysters with Albariño Garlic Butter

2 dozen oysters on the half shell
6 tablespoons salted butter, divided
3 large garlic cloves, grated
½ cup Biltmore Estate Albariño
1½ teaspoons champagne vinegar
3 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley, plus more for serving
Lemon wedges for serving

Open bottom vent of a charcoal grill completely. Light charcoal chimney starter filled with briquettes. When briquettes are covered with gray ash, pour them onto bottom grate of grill. Adjust vents as needed to maintain an internal temperature of 400°F to 450°F. Place top grate on grill. (If using a gas grill, preheat to medium-high [400°F to 450°F].)

Melt 3 tablespoons butter in a small skillet over medium-high. Add garlic; cook, stirring constantly, 30 seconds. Carefully add Albariño and champagne vinegar; cook, stirring occasionally, until reduced to about 1/4 cup, 8 to 10 minutes. Reduce heat to low. Add remaining 3 tablespoons butter, stirring until butter melts. Stir in parsley.

Arrange oysters on a rimmed baking sheet; top each oyster with a scant 1 teaspoon butter mixture. Place oysters on unoiled grates. Grill, covered, just until oyster juices begin to bubble vigorously, 3 to 4 minutes. Serve warm with parsley and lemon.

Find Biltmore Estate Albariño close to home

Friends toasting with Biltmore wine
Our new Biltmore Estate Albariño makes any occasion seem special!

Our easy-drinking Albariño is perfect for sipping at brunch, on picnics, and around the fire pit on cool fall evenings, but don’t look for it on the estate or in our online store–it’s only available for purchase with local retailers. Find it in your area with our Retail Locator.

Craft Incredible Cocktails with Biltmore Wines!

Craft incredible cocktails with Biltmore wines and enjoy a refreshing new way to savor summer sipping on the porch, patio, or by the pool!

Switch up the spirits

“Summer is the perfect time to craft incredible cocktails featuring wines handcrafted here at Biltmore’s Winery in Asheville, North Carolina,” said Chris Price, Wine Marketing Manager. “‘And if you are looking for a lower-proof version of your favorites, simply switch out the spirit for a similar style of Biltmore wine,”

In the case of the white wine mojito below, we swapped the traditional rum for Biltmore Estate® Limited Release Sémillon. It makes a perfect “shady afternoon sipper” to enjoy while reading in the hammock (naps optional!).

White Wine Mojito Cocktail*

White wine mojito made with Biltmore Estate Limited Release Semillon
Craft this White Wine Mojito Cocktail featuring Biltmore Estate Limited Release Sémillon for summer sipping all season long

• 2 ounces Biltmore Estate® Limited Release Sémillon
• 2 ounces Italian lemon soda
• ¾ ounces freshly squeezed lime juice
• ¼ ounce simple syrup
• 4 mint leaves

Craft the cocktail: Muddle 4 mint leaves thoroughly in 2 ounces of Biltmore Estate® Limited Release Sémillon using a rough edge muddler. Add lime juice, simple syrup, and shake briefly on ice in a Boston shaker. Double strain into a martini glass and top with Italian lemon soda.

Serve straight up with a floating mint leaf as a garnish so ice does not overly dilute the cocktail. (Muddle different types of fruit to bring new flavors to this recipe—we give you a license to be creative!) Serves 1.

Wine: Recognized for its notably smooth texture and significant palate weight, our Biltmore Estate® Limited Release Sémillon, handcrafted at our estate winery, is a full-bodied, dry white wine. The rich, silky texture complements the fresh melon flavors and zesty citrus aromas. An exciting wine for any occasion, it pairs well with chicken, halibut, pork, turkey, and salads.

Summer Riesling & Tonic Cocktail*

Wine and tonic cocktail with Biltmore Estate Limited Release Riesling
Savor the flavor of your favorite fruits in this Summer Riesling and Tonic cocktail

“Fresh fruit and wine pair beautifully together, and warmer weather is the perfect time to experiment with your favorites and share the delicious results,” Chris said.

Whether you’re serving craft cocktails on the patio, porch, or poolside, outdoor entertaining takes on a new meaning when you invite a special guest like rum. Yum!

• 1 bottle Biltmore Estate® Limited Release Dry Riesling
• 8 ounces white rum
• 1 cup blackberries
• 1 cup fresh basil leaves (reserve some for garnish)
• 2 lemons (sliced into thin wheels and halved)
• Elderflower tonic

Craft the cocktails: The day before you want to serve these cocktails, pour Biltmore Estate® Limited Release Dry Riesling and your choice of white rum into a pretty pitcher. Submerge several basil leaves and blackberries in the mixture and refrigerate overnight.

When ready to serve, use your favorite glassware and build each drink with ice, blackberries, basil leaves, and a couple of lemon wheels. Fill glasses a quarter of the way with elderflower tonic, and the rest of the way with the chilled wine and rum mixture. Enjoy! Serves 6.

Wine: Discover the drier side of Rieslings with our Biltmore Estate® Limited Release Dry Riesling. It is quite enchanting, with bright citrus and spice aromas followed by flavors of stone-fruit. However, it is the dryness that makes this Riesling so extraordinary, and different than most types of this varietal you will experience. You can pair our Dry Riesling with rabbit, crab, oysters, and shrimp for delightful dining.

Chenin Blanc Pineapple Slushies*

“This craft cocktail is a fun way to liven up a summer gathering,” Chris said. “There’s a bit of nostalgia to any slushie drink, but this is definitely a grown-up version of the ones you remember from childhood!”

Pineapple slushie cocktail with Biltmore Estate Limited Release Chenin Blanc
Treasure the tropical taste of our Pineapple Slushie Cocktail!

• 8 ounces of chilled Biltmore Estate® Limited Release Chenin Blanc
— Tip: put wine in the freezer 30 minutes prior to mixing these cocktails
• 4 ounces chilled Plantation Pineapple Rum (used as a float)
• 2 cups frozen pineapple chunks
• 1 cup frozen mango chunks
• 6 ounces pineapple juice
• 3 ounces freshly squeezed lime juice
• 2 ounces ginger syrup (recipe below)
• 4 dashes Bittermen’s Tiki Bitters (or your favorite brand)
• Ice

Ginger Syrup
• 1 cup of water
• 1½ cups organic sugar
• 1 medium ginger root, sliced

Place all ginger syrup ingredients in a pot and bring to a boil, stirring constantly so sugar doesn’t burn. Remove from heat and allow to steep for 1 hour while it cools. Refrigerate for up to 2 weeks. Makes 1½ cups of syrup.

Craft the cocktails: Place all ingredients except rum in a blender. Blend until you have obtained a super slushy consistency. Pour into a glass, leaving room to float 1 ounce of Plantation Pineapple Rum on top, then garnish with extreme creativity! Serves 4.

Wine: An estate and online exclusive, our handcrafted Biltmore Estate® Limited Release Chenin Blanc is a rarity among its kind. Enjoy the balanced and fruity introduction, with a lingering, sweet finish accented by floral aromas and citrus flavors. The rich notes make it a wine that can stand firmly on its own, but it does pair well with Asian cuisine, crème brûlée, fresh fruit, fruity desserts, and tiramisu.

Purchase award-winning Biltmore wines!

Bottles of Biltmore Estate Limited Release wines
Biltmore Estate® Limited Release wines, distinguished by a matte black capsule and black-and-gold label, are perfect for sipping by the glass or in craft cocktails.

While the three delicious Biltmore Estate Limited Reserve wines featured in the craft cocktails above are available only in estate shops or online, you can find many of our wines close to home with our Retail Locator.

*Special thanks to The Urban Gastronome for creating the recipes for the craft cocktails featured in the post!

Savor Summer with These Limited Release White Wines

Savor summer with these Limited Release white wines, handcrafted by Biltmore winemaker Sharon Fenchak to refresh your palate all season long.

“Of course white wines aren’t just for summer,” said Sharon, “but they are uniquely suited to provide crisp, refreshing flavor and pair well with the kinds of lighter foods we enjoy most during warmer weather.”

For the Biltmore Estate Limited Release series, Sharon seeks smaller lots of exceptional grapes from our partner vineyards in California and Washington, allowing her to showcase her skillful artistry in each bottle.

Let’s take a look at four Limited Release white wines crafted from varietals that may be less well known than more mainstream whites such as Chardonnay and Pinot Grigio:

1. Biltmore Estate Limited Release Marsanne

Friends toasting with Biltmore wine
Our new Biltmore Estate Albariño makes any occasion seem special!

Originally from France’s Northern Rhône region, Marsanne is a less well-known white varietal often blended with Roussanne.

After selecting fruit from our California growing partners, Sharon handcrafts our Biltmore Estate Limited Release Marsanne to be light straw in color, with bright opening aromas of banana, kiwi, and lime.

Refreshing with a nice acidity, this light-to-medium-bodied Marsanne offers a fresh flavor reminiscent of tart green apples. Perfect for summer sipping and outdoor entertaining like a classic Lowcountry seafood boil, our Marsanne is excellent with lighter fare such as orange chicken, scallops, and fish tacos, or spinach salad with raspberry vinaigrette.

For desserts, consider key lime pie and lemon pound cake. If you’ve already discovered that you’re a fan of Biltmore’s other food-friendly white wines, we predict you’ll love getting to know our Marsanne!

2. Biltmore Estate Limited Release Orange Muscat

Celebrate summer with Limited Release white wines
Savor summer with our Limited Release white wines, including Orange Muscat

Although it has old-world origins in Italy and France, Orange Muscat is better known today through new-world plantings in the U.S. and Australia.

We handcraft this highly aromatic member of the Muscat family into a straw-colored wine with a luscious fragrant bouquet of peach blossom, honey, and ripe melon.

Light-bodied, nicely balanced, and sweet-forward with flavors of honey and tropical fruit, our Biltmore Estate Limited Release Orange Muscat offers a clean, lightly tart finish that is surprisingly zesty.

Savor this delightful “glass full of summer” with Mexican dishes, crab salad, spicy black bean burgers, Nashville-style hot chicken, fruit salad, angel food cake, and lemon tart.

Most of all, be sure to sip it outdoors on the porch, or try it as the base of a refreshing summer cocktail like this Orange Muscat Mimosa or a pitcher of fruity sangria.

3. Biltmore Estate Limited Release Roussanne

Savor summer with white wines
Enjoy all our Limited Release wines, including Roussanne, this summer!

Roussanne is a late-ripening white grape that originated in the Rhone region of France. While it is often blended with Marsanne, Sharon has chosen to handcraft this Biltmore Estate Limited Release Marsanne as a single varietal with fine grapes selected from partner vineyards in Paso Robles, California.

This medium-bodied pale gold wine offers scents of lime, pear, and coconut. It is soft, round, and nicely balanced with slight hints of minerality along with flavors of lime, kiwi, and tangerine.

Pair it with lighter fare including fish tacos, trout, chicken salad with grapes and strawberries, or a wedge of Ibérico cheese. Refreshing and easy to drink, we suggest sipping a glass of Roussanne while relaxing on the porch—or take a bottle along to your next rustic cabin adventure or “glamping” getaway.

4. Biltmore Estate Limited Release Sémillon

Savor summer with Limited Release white wines
Pack plenty of Limited Release Semillon for your next summer picnic!

Sémillon is native to France’s Bordeaux region. While it is often blended with other wines to give them more body and brighter flavor, Sharon opts to handcraft our Biltmore Estate Limited Release Sémillon as a single varietal to express its distinctive characteristics.

The grapes are selected from partner vineyards in Lake County, California, and the resulting light green-gold wine features a bouquet of fresh pear, banana, and floral notes.

Medium-light in body, our round, creamy Sémillon offers tastes of crisp apple, vanilla, and hints of oak along with good acidity and a soft finish.

Enjoy it with pan-seared scallops, Crab Louie, grilled chicken Caesar salad, and party favorites including brie, savory vol-au-vent canapés, and petite fours. Serve this lovely white wine with a casual dinner, bring it along on a summer picnic, or simply sip it by the glass

Savor Summer with Limited Release White Wines

Vanderbilt Wine Club shipment
As a Vanderbilt Wine Club member, you’ll receive a shipment of Biltmore wines each season, plus access to exclusive vintages, events, and more

Our Limited Release wines–including the four that we’ve highlighted in this post–are exclusively available on the estate, online, or through the Vanderbilt Wine Club®.

Pairing Our Gardens with Biltmore White Wines

Looking for expert advice in selecting wines for spring entertaining? Be inspired by our playful pairing of our beautiful gardens with Biltmore white wines!

Biltmore Reserve North Carolina Rosé in the Walled Garden
Nothing could be finer than sipping our Biltmore Reserve North Carolina Rosé with all your favorite flavors!

Outdoor entertaining with Biltmore Wines

From patios to picnics to pool parties, here’s a basic tip on serving and appreciating wine outdoors in spring:

“Just follow the ‘20-Minute Rule’,” said Spencer Knight, Winery Tours Supervisor. “Remove white wine from the refrigerator 20–30 minutes prior to serving so the flavor profile has a chance to expand.”

Bucket full of Biltmore Wines
Put Biltmore wines on your “bucket list” for summer sipping!

According to Spencer, it’s also a good idea to return open wine bottles to a container of ice and water between refills, especially if you’re entertaining outside in warmer weather.

Pairing Biltmore white wines with our historic gardens

Biltmore wines provide great summer sipping
Enjoy Biltmore white wines by the glass or bottle this summer

In addition to pairing the distinct “personalities” of Biltmore’s historic gardens and grounds with our refreshing white wines, you’ll also find suggestions for white wine pairings with your favorite seasonal flavors.

Diana at Biltmore

Temple of Diana overlooking Biltmore House
Temple of Diana overlooking Biltmore House

This elegant site overlooking Biltmore House offers a classic setting that calls to mind Biltmore’s outstanding sparkling wines.

Brighten any special occasion with our Pas de Deux Moscatohandcrafted in traditional méthode champenoise to create fine, tiny bubbles.

This aromatic semi-sweet sparkler features the essence of orange blossom and flavors of wild strawberry and lemon. Enjoy with fresh fruit, chocolate covered strawberries, or cheesecake. 

Spring in the Shrub Garden

Olmsted planned colorful blooms for spring in Biltmore's Shrub Garden
Colorful spring blooms in Biltmore’s Shrub Garden

Savor the beauty of Biltmore’s Shrub Garden—a picture-perfect pairing for Biltmore Estate Riesling as the wine’s fresh and fragrant style is reminiscent of early-blooming spring shrubs.

Beautifully balanced with sweet apricot aromas, light honey flavors, and a crisp finish, Biltmore’s Riesling makes a surprisingly savory companion to spicy Thai dishes as well as fruity desserts.

A classic wine pairing for the Walled Garden

White wisteria blooming in Biltmore's Walled Garden
White wisteria blooming in the Walled Garden

Stroll the paths of this grand garden and enjoy the sun-warmed stone walls that enfold you with tradition, much like the classic taste of our Biltmore Estate Chardonnay

Smooth and balanced with subtle floral aromas, crisp fruit flavors, and hints of oak, Biltmore’s Chardonnay shines when served with favorites including chicken and grilled vegetables, pasta with cream sauce, and even hard-to-pair fare like squash dishes.

Our Rose Garden paired with a special rosé

Roses blooming in Biltmore's Rose Garden
Biltmore’s historic Rose Garden in front of the Conservatory

Biltmore’s rambling rose garden is a perfect match for our Biltmore Reserve North Carolina Rosé 2018.

Crafted from select North Carolina Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon grapes, our pretty-in-pink rosé blossoms with beautiful color, layered aromas, and flavors of red berries, tropical fruits, and a hint of spice. Enjoy with cheese plates and pizza. 

Pairing our Spring Release Wine with the Azalea Garden

Azaleas blooming in late spring
Azaleas blooming at Biltmore in late spring

The informal feel and bright colors of the Azalea Garden make it a natural match for our fragrant and food-friendly Biltmore Spring Release White Wine.

Handcrafted to capture the essence of the season, this is the perfect wine for warmer weather and picnics. You can also spice up spring by pairing it with zesty sausage and Indian food!

Enjoy Biltmore white wines this spring
Pair Biltmore wines with all your favorite flavors this spring

Savor Biltmore wines now

Whether you’re stocking up on favorite varietals or trying new ones, you can purchase Biltmore wines online or close to home through our Retailer Locator.