Albariños are wines made from the albariño grape. They usually (but not always) come from Galicia, the region in the Northwest of Spain. Rías Baixas is the denominación de origen of many of the best of these wines and, indeed, according to wine writer Oz Clarke, some of the best whites in all of Spain.
Albariños tend to be a bit pricey, especially for young white wines from Spain, a place that still produces lots of quality whites at very low prices. (See my posts on Marqués de Cáceres white rioja and Protocolo white, a vino de la tierra de Castilla for examples). Good albariños like Pazo San Mauro are worth it though, especially with fine seafood. A sommelier friend of ours in Oregon used to tell us how in blind tastings in the Willamette Valley, albariños won hands down in the best wines for seafood category.
What makes albariños so special and so perfect for seafood is their dryness, the notes of herbs and minerals, and, in the best of them, a near-absence of fruit. This gives them an indescribable lightness.
Beware: in our local wine shops we have recently come across low-priced albariños, usually in the $7-$12 range, that have very little, if any, of the classic albariño taste. They taste much like the ordinary fruit-heavy young whites that now dominate the cheap white wine market. So if you're shopping for albariño, it's important to select a good one.
Andrés, my father-in-law, who was a native of Galicia, loved albariños. His favorite of all was Fefiñanes, one of the oldest bodegas and the first to bottle wine under the Rías Baixas DO. He and Esperanza used to drink this wine in the sixties with excellent Galician seafood. I have not had the opportunity to try Fefiñanes yet. According to Andrés, it was very dry, all herbs and minerals. "Old style," he called it.
He also enjoyed Pazo de Señorans albariño, which he described as "more modern," with more fruit. He meant more fruit for an albariño of Rías Baixas, which is very little fruit by most standards. Pazo San Mauro's wine is in this style. Try it with simple Spanish seafood dishes, especially shellfish.