THE LESSER KNOWN SPANISH WINE ROUTE: RÍAS BAIXAS
The Rías Baixas wine region is located in the green, rugged, beautiful, historic region of Galicia in north-west Spain. According to local legend, the Rías Baixas (low estuaries) are the traces left by God’s hand after the creation of Earth. The Rías Baixas Wine Route covers the south western part of Galicia, bordering with Portugal.
Covered in lush, rain-soaked greenery, with the Atlantic ocean lapping along some of Spain’s most idyllic, natural beaches, home to a number of buzzing and characterful cities and offering up arguably the best seafood in the country, Galicia is a must see. And as one of the top producing, though lesser known regions for high quality wines, is an important destination on the itinerary of any wine connoisseur.
The Albariño grape
The Albariño grape is indigenous to the Rías Baixas region. Albariño classically displays perfumes of green apple, citrus, melon, peach, pear and apricot. Crisp on the palate, Albariño grapes give your taste buds a vibrant hit with an earthy yet sweet taste.
Harvesting the grape is a gentle process: the grapes are handpicked in plastic 40-pound crates and temperature control plays a large part in the winemaking process. Grapes are distributed in a timely manner to avoid oxidation before being fermented in stainless steel installations. Of the 12 grape varieties permitted by the Rías Baixas, 99% is white (Albariño). The wine is renowned for its crisp flavour, beautifully complements fresh Galician seafood, and rivals wines from the world’s most celebrated white wine-producing regions.
The Rías Baixas is made up of five sub-regions (related to God’s five fingers): Ribeira do Ulla, Soutomaior, Condado do Tea, O Salnes and O Rosal. The following are worth highlighting for those wanting to try some of Spain’s best wines:
O Salnes is the largest sub-region in Rías Baixas, renowned for its white wines made from the Albariño variety of grape. Located on the Atlantic coast, it surrounds the historic town of Cambados. 58% of the Albariño grapes are grown in O Salnes, famous for having the highest quality of wine within the five sub zones of Rías Baixas.
Ribeira do Ulla
The most modern and newest Rías Baixas sub-region is Riberia do Ulla, this area was only registered in 2000 and is composed mostly of alluvial soil. The Ribeira do Ulla is located inland, just southwest of Santiago de Compostela and east of Padrón., a town renowned for fired green peppers. Ribeira do Ulla is as green as the eyes can see, made up of vineyards; the region produced 10% of the Albariño wine.
Located on the Mino River, which joins with the Atlantic Ocean, this sub-region meets the border with Portugal. In O Rosal, vineyards are right on the border of Portugal, giving the flavour a peachy and sweeter taste that the other regions. O Rosal is home to terraced hillside vineyards overlooking the water and the Vinho Verde region of Portugal. It’s easy to fall in love with this picturesque village. The Albariño grape varies in taste from different regions.
A Rías Baixas Wine Route experience provides an opportunity not only to discover the celebrated Albariño wine and visit wineries and vineyards, but to enjoy the unspoilt beauty of this part of the Galician coastline, wide, sandy beaches, pretty villages, and delicious Galician cuisine. For more information on wine tours in the Rías Baixas region, visit: http://bit.ly/2sHHsHy