Wave Spanish White Wine
Rias Baixas and Albariño
In the far northwest corner of Spain, the Rias Baixas (low
rivers) is located in lush, verdant Galicia. Snuggled just
above Portugal, Galicia has more in common with Scotland than
Spain, and indeed forms what is known as the “Celtic
Triangle” with Ireland, Wales, Scotland and Brittany.
Rias Baixas is named. It is an exceptionally beautiful wine
region, also making some of the best white wines at the moment.
The star wines from Rias Baixas are made with the Albariño
grape. Albariño is likened to both Riesling and Viognier,
Riesling for its minerally character and Viognier for its bouquet
of peaches and apricots. Many wine experts, including the legendary
Miguel Torres, believe that Albariño is actually the
Riesling grape and that the vines were brought over by medieval
German monks who were establishing monasteries on the Camino
de Santiago ( Saint James Way). The regulatory council in Rias
Baixas disagree and believe that the Albariño grape
is indigenous to the area.
While the experts can’t seem to agree on the origin of
Albariño, they definitely agree that it is Spain ’s
most elegant white grape. The Rias Baixas appellation is comprised
of three wine production areas: the Val do Salnès (north
of Pontevedra), O Rosal Condado do Tea (which translates colourfully
as “Torch Country”). Albariños are fairly
low in alcohol, are quite floral and very delicate. They are
considered to be some of the most sophisticated wines from Spain
, red or white.The best and most expensive wines are the wines
made with 100% Albariño. Top producers include: Terras
Gauda, Morgadío, Veigadares, Burgans, Pazo de Barrans
(owned by the Count of Creixell who also owns Marques de Murrieta
in La Rioja), Fillaboa, Pazo San Mauro and lastly Martin Coda.
Codax is the best known Galician wine abroad.
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