Celebrate Albariño Day with spicy Shrimp & Clam Pasta

Albariño - your Go-To seafood wine

Albariño – your Go-To seafood wine

Albariño Day/Week
Grape Celebration days have become a popular way to promote wines from a region or from a common grape around the world. They can be a bit confusing, as sometimes the day/date seems to be a bit vague. Some, like #AlbariñoDay are placed perfectly in the calendar. August is prime time for seafood served with a crisp, refreshing white wine. Cabernet Sauvignon day is in late August, how does that make any sense at all? Recently, wineries have gotten together and extended the day to a week or more.  International Albariño Day stretches over August 3-8.  I love Albariño, so I’ll happily celebrate!

Rias Baixas is Albariño

Rias Baixas is Spanish for Albariño


Rias Baixas is Albariño
The Rias Baixas region in Spain is the old world home of Albariño (pronounced “Alvarinho”), so you will often see wines labeled with just the Rias Baixas name, but they will be made from 100% Albariño grapes. Rias Baixas is in the far Northwest corner of Spain and the vineyards are placed very close to the ocean. While we think of Spain as a hot, dry place, Rias Baixas is not. With it’s proximity to the cold ocean, wines here will be lean and acidic.

Albariño: crisp with just a touch of salt air in the background

Albariño: crisp with just a touch of salt air in the background

Vinedos Don Olegario Albariño Rias Baixas DO 2015 (suggested $20)
From the winery:
“The Bodega Don Olegario Albariño is medium-bodied that shows opulent, powerful aromas and flavors of citrus and flowers, with tropical notes. The grapes are produced at 95 meters elevation on a 12.4-acre vineyard with 30-year-old vines in sandy and granite soils. The grapes are hand harvested and undergo a cold maceration before fermentation in stainless steel vats at controlled temperatures. The wine ages 8 months in stainless steel vats on the lees before filtering and bottling.”

Jeff’s impressions:
Eye: Clear, pale lemon yellow. Immediately on opening, a bit frizzante (tiny bubbles), not quite effervescent.
Nose: Clean, ripe lemons with just a touch of salt air. Not tart lemon, soft and ripe.
Mouth: Ripe lemons carry on in the flavor, but with a softness and medium body, not lean and tart, just nice, crisp, juicy but creamy body. No trace of oak flavor, no surprise as the wine is aged in stainless steel.

Albariño tackles spicy with crisp refreshing acidity

Albariño tackles spicy with crisp refreshing acidity

Food Pairing with Albariño
From the winery:
“With the versatility to pair with a wide range of dishes, Albariño is the perfect match. The classic pairing is with various seafood (due to the its origin), however Albariño can stand up to unexpected international fare. Albariño’s crisp, clean flavors compliment sushi perfectly, which is commonly known to be difficult to pair with wine. The Don Olegario Albariño will also pair nicely with spicy and flavorful cuisines like Indian and Thai dishes, which usually overpower other wines. Other successful pairings include soft cheeses and poultry dishes.”

Jeff’s Experience
As advertised, the Bodega Don Olegario Albariño is a great partner with seafood of almost any preparation. We enjoyed it with a pasta in a slightly spicy sauce served with grilled shrimp and clams.  The wine had a nice fresh, cleansing acidity and played beautifully with the crushed red peppers in the sauce. Lemon tones in the dish were reflected in the lemon aromas and flavors present in the wine.

Just a touch of crushed red pepper adds some punch to the dish

Just a touch of crushed red pepper adds some punch to the dish

Spicy Shrimp & Clam Pasta

Note: this recipe can be easily made on the stove-top.  In the summertime, it’s fun to use the grill!


  • 12 oz. uncooked, deveined shrimp
  • 2 lbs. fresh clams, scrubbed
  • 12 oz. linguine (dry)
  • 1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)
  • 3 garlic cloves, peeled, crushed and chopped
  • 1/4 tsp crushed red pepper
  • 4 roma tomatoes, seeded, then chopped
  • 8 oz. clam juice (bottled)
  • 1 lemon, zested, then squeezed for juice, 1-2 Tbsp. Reserve the lemon zest, divided into two portions
  • 1/4 cup fresh flat-leaf Italian parsley, chopped. Reserve some additional parsley for garnish.
  • kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Note: this dinner comes together very quickly. Complete all prep and read through the instructions carefully before you start!

  • Pre-heat grill
  • Put a large pot of well salted water on to boil
  • Peel the shrimp, tie up the shells in a small bundle of cheesecloth
  • Place the shrimp on 4 skewers
  • Heat 1 Tbsp of EVOO in a large skillet (large enough to hold the pasta) over medium heat
  • Quickly saute the garlic and red pepper, no more than 1 minute. Try to avoid browning the garlic.
  • Add the roma tomatoes, clam juice, and cheesecloth with shrimp shells and bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer, about 10 minutes.
  • Add the pasta to the boiling pasta water
  • Place the clams on the grill until the shells open, about 10 minutes.  Discard any clams that do not open.
  • After the clams are on the grill and before the shrimp go on, drain the pasta, reserving 1 cup of the pasta water.  Add the pasta into the skillet with the sauce.  Add the lemon juice, the lemon zest, and the parsley and toss well. If more liquid is needed, add reserved pasta water.
  • When the clams are almost done, add the skewers of shrimp and quickly grill, about 2 minutes.
  • Plate the pasta and place clams and shrimp on top.  Decorate with additional lemon zest and parsley leaves.
  • Enjoy with a lively Albariño from Rias Baixas!

Disclosure: The importer provided the wine with a request for a post during Albariño Week (August 3-8) if I enjoyed the wine, but no expectations beyond the request. All opinions expressed are my own.

albarino_clam_shrimp_pasta 20160727 81

2 Responses to “Celebrate Albariño Day with spicy Shrimp & Clam Pasta”
  1. Thanks for all the work you put into this post. It certainly shows and I appreciate the useful information and images.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: