Airen is a white grape that’s often used in wine making. Native to Spain, it represents 30% of all grapes grown. Despite being one of the most grown grape varieties in the world, it’s largely unknown outside of central Spain. How’s this possible?
Well, unlike the vineyards you picture when thinking of France and Germany, Airen is grown in drier and less visited areas of central Spain. The grape vines are planted at a low density and can grow through drought pretty gracefully.
There are definitely some good reasons for growing this sweet grape variety. The juice is mostly distilled for brandy or fortified wines like sherry and port. The seeds are crushed to produce grapeseed oil. On top of that, a big part of the wine remained is blended. The rest, a small proportion of Airen wine that’s left, is used as a varietal wine.
The final product is a dry and crisp white wine that should be enjoyed young.
Due to its bold style and fairly low acidity, Airen is frequently blended with other white grapes such as Verdejo and Sauvignon Blanc, in order to make a more balanced wine. Lately, plantations of Airen have been declining as the white grape’s being replaced by the more popular red grape varieties, such as Tempranillo.
If you’d like to try a bottle, buy Airen at the ZYN liquor store in Calgary, Alberta, Canada, or shop online at ZYN.ca!