Wines of Galicia
Wines of Galicia
Galician wines and liqueurs are worth getting to know for their overall quality, tradition and excellence.
It’s the white wines using grapes such as Albariño or Godello which are perhaps best known outside Galicia but the quality of red wines like Mencía have improved considerably in recent times and are waiting to be discovered by a larger audience.
Grape Harvest River Sil, Ribeira Sacra
There are 5 wine denominations in Galicia together with "Wines of the Land" (Vinos de la Tierra) and geographical denominations of traditional Galician liqueurs.
- Monterrei from Ourense with 3000 hectares under cultivation (www.domonterrei.com/)
- Rias Baixas in the province of Pontevedra which has 5 sub-zones and 3650 hectares under cultivation in which is produced Albariño, Rosal and Condado (www.doriasbaixas.com)
- Ribeira Sacra which covers a large area with 1255 hectares under cultivation on the banks of the Rivers Miño and Sil and its tributaries in the south of Lugo and north of Ourense (www.ribeirasacra.org)
- Ribeiro which covers an area of 2,285 hectares under cultivation in the province of Ourense (www.ribeiro.es/)
- Valdehorras at the natural entrance to Galicia in the north-east of the province of Ourense (www.dovaldeorras.tv)
"Wines of the Land" (Vinos de la Tierra) are typical table wines which include Barbanza and Iria, Betanzos and Valemino-Ourense which correspond to where they are produced. The first two are from La Coruña and the final one, Ourense.
It is easy to try all of these wines in local bars and restaurants and at very competitive prices. Many still serve directly from large barrels. It’s also still common to drink the wines from ceramic bowls (tazas). It’s also easy to visit the wine cellars (winery/bodega) and buy the wines direct. This is part of the fun and is a major adventure in itself as the majority are stunningly located where nature and wine production merges into the one.
Orujo is a type of liqueur (aguardiente) obtained after distilling fermented liqueurs produced from the remains of wine grapes. The production of liqueur is as important as wine production as it’s also a very popular drink with local people especially young people!
The regional government regulates every aspect to ensure these liqueurs deserve a specific denomination, "Orujo de la Galicia" and Galicia is the unique region in the whole of Spain which has a geographical denomination in the same category as French, Italian and Greek brandies.
In addition to the traditional Galician orujo (white spirit) there is also a liqueur made with herbs (hierbas), coffee liqueur (el licor cafe) and cream liqueur (el licor de crema).
The queimada is a very popular custom at fiestas especially in the summer when a large bowl is filled with aguardiente and then fruit,sugar and coffee grains are added and then set alight and the end product is drunk hot!
Albariño is the most famous Galician wines and can be increasingly found at the international level being particularly popular in the United States of America. It’s the essential pillar of the wine region originating from the Rias Baixas representing 95% of production and covering the major part of the land under cultivation. However, there are other variety of grapes including Loureira, Treixadura, Caino blanco,Torrontes and Godello as well as a variety of red grapes including Caino Tinto, Souson, Mencia, Espadeiro, Loureira tinta and brancellao. Hence the regulator has classified the wines: Rias Baixas Albariño, Condado do Tea, Rosal, Val do Salnes, Ribeira del Ulla, Barrica and Tinto.
Wines are a yellow colour with brilliant tones. On the nose there is an intense aromatic aroma with floral and fruity notes. On the mouth the wines are fresh with a good structure and equilibrium. They are moderate acidity, tasty and sweet.There are 3650 hectares dedicated to the production of Albariño and 199 bodegas!
Bodega As Laxas
O Rosal Wine Festival
A visit to Cambados which is one of the heartlands of production is also strongly recommended where you can visit a bodega easily or buy wine in the numerous wine shops that exist there.
The denomination originating from Ribeiro extends to over 2685 hectares under cultivation in the province of Ourense at the confluence of the Rivers Avia, Arnoia and Barbantino which marks the limit of this zone. This wine has a great tradition dating back as far as the 16th century when in its capital Ribadavia rules were established to guarantee its quality and the authenticity of these wines. Situated on the edge of the mountains sheltered from the influence of the Atlantic, the climate is drier, humid and warm where the land is of granite and soils acidic.
The wines from Ribeiro are noted for a series of combined, exquisite fruity and flowery aromas which never fail to surprise and give a diverse and individual personality from using different grapes including Treixadua, Torrontes, Loureira, Caino, Bracellao and Souson which sets it apart from other wines.
It’s the whites which represent a large part of production and these are light, fresh, dry, and fruity with a distinctive distilled, light colour with at between 9.5-13 % generally less alcohol than other wines. The reds are also packed full of fruity flavour and being young wines are best consumed in their first year. The toasted white wines are stronger using selected grapes.
It’s the Treixadura which is the queen of grapes and which has helped to elevate Ribeiro wines to the deserved fame they now hold.
Vina Costeira is a good introduction to Ribeiro wines being easy to purchase and very good value given its overall quality. Brilliant straw yellow with green glints. Aroma of medium-high intensity, very fine and elegant, with tropical fruit and fresh herbs hints. On the palate it is balanced, tasty and fresh, forming a harmonious and pleasant set.
Bathed by the River Mino and Sil, is the Ribeira Sacra wine region named after the presence of so many monasteries, hermitages and churches. Since the roman period it has been a legendary land full of magic and mystery that encapsulates the heart of Galicia! This land is renowned for its profound steeply sloping valleys and cultivated wine terraces with a Mediterranean micro-climate. Cultivation has taking place for over 2000 years when the roman legions arrived! From the very beginning the Mencia grape has been used and cultivated in a unique and privileged setting and is the variety most emblematic of Ribeira Sacra.
Mencia generates wines with an intense strawberry colour, aromas penetrated with fruits and delicate flowers, a good dosis of alcohol and acidity. Wines which create good balance and good structure which are well rounded and clean on the mouth. Rectoral de Amandi is a great example which is made from 100% Mencia grapes. Its cherry red with violet undertones with a well-defined aroma of ripe fruit he wines have good balance on the palate, fruity, velvety with a highly intense and persistent finish.
There are five sub zones: Amandi, Chantada, Quiroga-Bibei, Riberas do Mino and Riberas do Sil. The wine denomination covers over 1255 hectares and the principal grapes uded in addition to Mencia are Godello, Brancellao, Merenzao, Alvarino and Treixadura. And there are 94 bodegas (winery’s/cellars). The harvest have been consistently awarded good ratings.Organic wine production is also becoming more widespread and there are two wines which meet this category. This is as stunning wine region in which to travel and organise a wine route which the short video seeks to demonstrate.
As Ermidas O Bolo,Valdeorras wine region
This wine region is the easterly most part of Ourense close to the border with Leon. It is boasts two Monovarietal wines. The most emblematic is a Godello white, with its defined fruity aromas, and yellow, golden or straw colour. It has a good structure and is intense and full in the mouth, and has an average alcoholic content of 12.5%. The most outstanding reds are made from Mencia, with an intense purple colour, and an elegant fruity aroma, light and tasty, with a good balance between alcohol content and acidity, appetising, and a long and intense finish. Both are extremely popular with local people who are very loyal and are completely satisfied enough to drink nothing else! Try the wines from Alan de Val by way of introduction.
This denomination is in the south-east part of Ourense close to the Portugese border. Vines are cultivated on a wide variety of soils on hillsides with unique micro-climate helping to produce different characteristics, personality and a great aromatic complexity. White wines are aromatic and fresh while the reds are mature and meaty. The wines are stored in oak barrels so have the categories of barrica, crianza ,reserva and gran reserva. Adegas Ladario or Crego y Monaguillo are great introductions to this wine region.
|NUMBER OF BODEGAS|
|Rias Baixas||Ribeiro||Ribeira Sacra||Valdeorras||Monterrei|