Spain located on the Iberian Peninsula, has over 2.9 million acres planted—making it the most widely planted wine producing nation but it is the third largest producer of wine in the world, the largest being France followed by Italy. This is due, in part, to the very low yields and wide spacing of the old vines planted on the dry, infertile soil found in many Spanish wine regions. The country has an abundance of native grape varieties, with over 400 varieties planted throughout Spain though 80 percent of the country's wine production is from only 20 grapes—including the reds Tempranillo, Garnacha, and Monastrell; the whites Albariño from Galicia, Palomino, Airen, and Macabeo; and the three cava grapes Parellada, Xarel·lo, and Macabeo. Major Spanish wine regions include the Rioja and Ribera del Duero which are known for their Tempranillo production; Valdepeñas, drunk by Unamuno and Hemingway, known for high quality tempranillo at low prices; Jerez, the home of the fortified wine Sherry; Rías Baixas in the northwest region of Galicia that is known for its white wines made from Albariño and Catalonia which includes the Cava and still wine producing regions of the Penedès as well the Priorat region. Spanish wine laws created the Denominación de Origen (DO) system in 1932 and were later revised in 1970. The system shares many similarities with the hierarchical Appellation d'origine contrôlée (AOC) system of France, Portugal's Denominação de Origem Controlada (DOC) and Italy's Denominazione di origine controllata (DOC) system.
- Item #: i_382502Bottle Size: 750mlVINOUS MEDIA 90 POINTS - "Bright straw-yellow. Mineral-tinged orange zest, pear and jasmine scents are complemented by a subtle touch of quinine. Shows very good clarity and tension to its juicy citrus and orchard fruit flavors, which deepen slowly on the back half. Lingers with strong persistence, leaving floral and orange notes behind. (All stainless steel.)"
- Item #: i_381033Bottle Size: 750mlBodega Granbazan is located in Tremoedo, in the Salnes sub-zone of Rias Baixas. Owners Manuel Otero and his nephew Jesus Alvarez own 17 hectares of 30-year-old Albarino vines that is supplemented by long-term contract with growers. Grapes are hand-picked, de-stemmed and undergo six to eight hours of cold maceration, while fermentation is undertaken in concrete and steel tanks using both natural and cultured yeast. I adore their evocative, rather old-fashioned labels with their maritime-themed drawings and equally, more importantly, I loved the wines inside. These are pure Rias Baixas Albarinos that brim over with crispness, flavor and authenticity.
- Item #: i_380625Bottle Size: 750MLAppearance: attractive straw color with hints of green in the rim. Clean and brilliant.Nose: very expressive and harmonious nose. Fine notes of white fruit (green apples, pear) and lemony aromas. Hints of herbs (basil) and flower blossom base notes. Surprising aromatic intensity.Palate: Clean and textured. Seductive exotic palate of pineapple and mango intermingled with refreshing citrus flavors amplified by minerally accents. Silky but yet full bodied, with long lingering finish. Round and very tasty.
- Item #: i_376575Bottle Size: 750mlPRACTICING ORGANIC FARMING
This winery, founded in 1973, is currently run by Gerardo Mendez. Gerardo owns 5 hectares. Three hectares are over 50 years old and one is 200 years old. The vineyards follow organic guidelines avoiding the use of pesticides and non-organic fertilizers. Utilizing the latest technology, Gerardo blends the traditional with the modern to produce lively, crisp wines true to their origin. There are two wines produced at the property. The first Albariño Do Ferreiro and the second, produced in very in very limited quantities is Ferreiro Cepas Vellas. The Cepas Vellas is from the vineyard that is 200 years old. These vines are planted on a hillside vineyard of mainly sandy composition that predates any other vineyards in Rias Baixas. The Albariño Do Ferreiro is also from a hillside vineyard greatly influenced by the Atlantic Ocean climate.
- Item #: i_378483Bottle Size: 750mlEladio Piñeiro founded Bodegas Mar de Frades in 1983 after spending many years as a sought-after winemaker and consultant in Rias Baixas, Spain's heartland of Albariño. However, In January of 2003, Piñiero underwent a sea change in his personal life, resulting in the sale of his winery, keeping only a few of his most treasured vineyard sites.
With the support of his family, Piñiero re-emerged under his own label, with an objective to create the kind of wines that really excited him, "wines with soul" he calls them. With a revitalized focus toward quality and artisinality without compromise, he sought to create wines expressive of the terroir, history, and passion of the Piñiero family.
The Envidia Cochina, or "poisonous worm of envy," is one of the most exciting wines we've ever encountered from Rias Baixas, indeed from any white wine appellation in Spain. Comprised of 100% Albariño from an old, biodynamically farmed vineyard in the Salnés Valley, it receives a brief maceration and fermentation with native yeasts before the "current vintage" fruit is married back with reserve Albariño from the previous vintage. It's then left for twelve months on the fine lees before being matured in stainless steel and bottled. The result is a rich, complex wine with unheralded depth, purity, and a texture unlike almost anything else we've encountered from the appellation. We're really excited to be able to offer this wine, especially for the remarkably modest price. Get it while you can!
- Item #: i_380557Bottle Size: 750MLTheir vineyards are located in the Salnes Valley. “I am looking for a very classic wine that emphasizes the Albarino variety,” said proprietor Juan Gil de Araujo Gonzales de Careaga. “It must have very good acidity and fruity flavors: apple, citrus fruit and so on. I love the minerality of this area, from the granitic soils. I am looking for persistency in the mouth.” This was an impressive set of wines and older vintages testified their aging propensity.
- Item #: i_382535Bottle Size: 750mlORGANICALLY GROWN GRAPES & PRACTICING BIODYNAMIC
From 30 year old vines, fermented with wild yeasts in stainless-steel vat with malolactic fermentation, and raised on the lees for 12-18 months in vat. This is one of the most singular and soil-driven Albariños from Rías Baixas. The result is a mineral-laden, beautifully aromatic, and textured wine that improves with time. Pure, distilled granite in Miguel Alfonso’s words. Perfect to pair with any fresh seafood.
- Item #: i_383963Bottle Size: 750mlSKURNIK IMPORTS - "A Cruz das Ánimas’ (trans. “The Crossroads of Souls”) is nothing short of explosive. It leaps out of the glass with aromas of oyster shell and etherized granite and follows through with a palate rich in marine-inflected yellow and green fruits and sporting a powerful surge of acidity."
With two and a half centuries of family tradition in the world of viticulture, Raúl Pérez Pereira’s profession seems to be more a matter of destiny than choice. It is a legacy that dominates his philosophy of work and one that swiftly directed him towards the family bodega, after a brief spell at a bodega in Penedès.
“For me the main thing is to understand my limits, to respect the environment and personal surroundings and above all to comprehend the wisdom of my ancestors and therefore to work accordingly”, he comments.
For him, fixed formulas do not exist, every wine, every soil, every parcel and every variety is different. “The differences are infinite, it all plays a part until your emotions take over”, he says.
Even the elaboration process is not subject to rules; it must be adapted to the characteristics of the soil which it must use according to its own development. For him, there are no rules, except one: to work in harmony with the ecosystem. “Our treatments,” comments Raúl, “respect the flora and the environment and we even manage to go without. Above all, we avoid systemic products”.
This Albariño shows the saline and bright, acid forward qualities of the grape when grown in Rias Baixas, but also the rich, satisfying textural elements from Raul's expressive winemaking. Highly recommended Albariño!