Rías Baixas (ree-us by-shuss) is in Galicia - aka Green Spain. Over 99% of all wine produced in Rías Baixas is white, and grape most famous is Albariño. Rías Baixas is relatively small winegrowing region in the northwestern corner of Spain. It is divided between five subzones (Val do Salnés, Ribeira do Ulla, Soutomaior, Condando do Tea, and O Rosal). While the different sub-zones express subtle differences, the wines all share a number of characteristics. These wines can be very aromatic, packed with flavors of white peach, apricot, melon, pineapple, mango and honeysuckle. They share good natural acidity, have mineral overtones, and are medium bodied with moderate alcohol (12%).
Albariño is easy to find in most grocery stores, retail shops, and often is poured by the glass cheaper than a French Sauvignon Blanc or Chardonnay. It pairs especially well with seafood (oysters, shrimp cocktail, raw and cooked fish) because Rias Baixas itself is so close to the Atlantic ocean. The saying goes => grows together, goes together.
One of my favorite producers, Do Ferreiro has the oldest vine Albariño in the world. Do Ferreiro, founded in 1973, is currently run by Gerardo Mendez. Gerardo owns 5 hectares. Three hectares are over 50 years old and one is over 200 years old. The vineyards follow organic guidelines avoiding the use of pesticides and non-organic fertilizers. Gerardo farms 8 separate plots of Albariño all located in the sub zone of Val do Salnés. This valley’s proximity to the ocean and protection by mountain ranges has gained it the reputation for being the best area for Rías Baixas. Each of the plots are separately fermented and aged on the lees for approximately six months.
There are three wines produced at the property. The first is Albariño Do Ferreiro, the second (produced in very in limited quantities) is Rebisaca. Lastly, there is the famous Cepas Vellas which is from the vineyard that is over 200 years old and predates any other vineyards in Rías Baixas. More importantly - it is delicious.
What's your favorite Albariño? Comment below and post your favorite producers!