Summer has bid adieu and the fall color palette has taken over the landscape. In picturesque villages amidst the mountainous terrain of northwestern Spain one wine group in particular is working diligently to introduce the world to amazing wines produced in some of Spain’s lesser-known wine areas. Believe me when I say they know what they are doing!
With a tradition reaching back more than 70 years, ViniGalicia as a group was born in 1996. This heritage and experience has provided ViniGalicia with an impressive reach throughout the region of Galicia. The company offers a wide range of products from bulk and boxed wines to bottled and special wines in four of five Galician D.O.s: Ribeira Sacra, Ribeiro, Valdeorras, and Rias Baixas. Additionally, they also produce some fine liquors as well as extra virgin olive oils. Join me on a tasting tour of the wines of ViniGalicia.
D.O. Ribeira Sacra – Twenty municipalities form this region located in inland Galicia. Three rivers weave this region together: Miño, Sil, and Cabe. The D.O.
consists of five sub-regions which together form 5.2% of the vineyards in Galicia. Six white and three red varietals are preferred in Ribeira Sacra, but this region really belongs to one red varietal – Mencia.
- 2010 Via Romana (Mencia) – The grapes for this wine are hand-selected from the best of the vine. This wine is deep purple in color with aromas and flavors of red fruits abound. The long finish leads to a wonderfully tannic aftertaste.
- 2011 Via Romana (Godello) – The first vintage of this wine, it is pale yellow in color and exudes citric and floral aromas. Medium acidity and smooth mouth feel accompany the citrus and mineral flavors. A fantastic first vintage!
D.O. Ribeiro – Located at the convergence of four river valleys – Miño, Avia, Arnoia, and Barbantiño – in south central Galicia is Ribeiro. The climate here has a heavily Atlantic influence with mild temperatures and significant rainfall. The vines are cultivated a bit higher off the ground so the grapes do not come in contact with the soil. The wines from here are predominantly blends.
- 2011 Cumio (Treixadura & Palomino) – One of my favorite Ribeiro wines, this wine shows pale yellow/green color in the glass and radiates sweet and floral aromas. Extremely light and balanced, the same floral nature carries through to the palate; and at 11% alcohol you do not have to feel guilty when you have finished the entire bottle in one sitting!
D.O. Valdeorras – This D.O. is the easternmost Galician wine region and is composed of nine municipalities. In these areas there are hundreds of traditional wineries where wine is done in caves excavated in clay. Mencia and Godello are the predominant red and white varietals (respectively) with a few others rounding out the mix.
- 2010 Verdes Castros (Mencia) – Scarlet red in color, this wine has aromas of red fruits and toasted wood. Wonderfully complex in the mouth the red fruits abound with a medium finish.
- 2011 Verdes Castros (Godello) – Characteristic Godello, this wine is light yellow with green tints. On the nose, the wine is fruity and floral and is fresh and balanced, yet slightly creamy, on the palate.
D.O. Rias Baixas – Five subzones comprise Rias Baixas – O Rosal, Condado de Tea, Soutomaior, Val do Salnés, and Riberia do Ulla. The Albariño grape originated from this region and accounts for 90% of all plantings. The Galicia coast and inland rivers give the wines from here an incredibly unique place amongst the world’s great white wines.
- 2011 Terra Mundi (Albariño) – Golden yellow to the eye, this Albariño is lively and fresh with aromas of stone fruit and citrus. Firm, fresh, and slightly acidic, flavors of the same carry through with a pleasant finish. An extremely representative and pleasant Albariño.
My introduction to the wines of ViniGalicia in San Francisco earlier this year was fortuitous. A long-standing fan of the wines of Galicia, I cannot imagine a group that is doing more to further the entire region than ViniGalicia. So often Spanish wineries today are seeking to produce high alcohol wines representative of what they believe the ratings giants desire. These wines are young and fresh and all under 12.5% alcohol. Thanks to ViniGalicia for giving Spain and the world the best it has to offer.
Life is short. Drink Spanish wine.