Galicia’s cool and misty climate necessitates a focus on earlier-ripening grapes, especially white varieties. Aromatic varieties prosper, with Albariño the most visible success in international markets. Grown along the coast, and along the rivers that give Rias Baixas (“lower fjords”) its name, Albariño is the dominant grape; it can vary from crisp and tangy to round and peachy..
Other white grapes fill the vineyards moving inland; the rich and complex Godello grape rules in Valdeorras (the “valley of gold”, reflecting Rome’s interest in the place 2000 years ago). Godello, Treixadura and others serve the regions of Monterrei and the picturesque DOs of Ribeiro and Ribeira Sacra. But away from the coast temperatures rise, so red grapes do well too; the Mencia grape is one of northwest Spain’s most distinctive red varieties.
Climate change is an issue, as Albariño requires a cooler climate. The reliance upon tangy, tart wines that match the famed shellfish and seafood from the Atlantic Ocean goes hand in hand with cool weather.
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The spectacular success of Rías Baixas' fragrant, elegant white wines since winning DO status in 1988 has given Galician winemaking a new lift.
The harnessing of modern technology has also been a key influence. Producers range from modern cooperatives to small-scale artisan producers - here called adegas, the Galician name for bodegas- some of whom now make 'signature' wines of astonishing quality and complexity.
With Albariño achieving wide international success, it has encouraged winemakers to start experimenting with new techniques.
Front runners in the region such as Terras Gauda have been active in scientific research and technology. From the 200 Albariño clones available, they narrowed these down to the four best suited to their microclimate and soil and planted the winery with these. They also use their own in-house yeast sourced from their vineyards, so avoid the generic traps of commerical yeast.
If you would like to see all the wines available, please visit our Wine Store.