Ecologic Albariño

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In the northwest corner of Spain lies a green, hilly land with a moist, mild climate where grapes grow well and even citrus fruits thrive. This is Galicia, home of the city of Santiago de Compostela, destination of millions of pilgrims since the middle ages, who still come today to admire the cathedral of St. James and to be awed by the history and spirit of the place.

The land is also blessed with natural wonders. Nearby is Cape Finisterre, or "lands end", the westernmost point in Spain, which was once considered the end of the world. One of the more impressive elements of this lush land is the rías, which are deep, wide inlets of water encroaching many miles inland from the Atlantic Ocean along the coast. The southern group of these rías are known in Galician as the Rías Biaxas. To the delight of wine lovers, these rías are surrounded by fine vineyard land. Since the rías are such an important element in the wine region, Rías Baixas was also taken as the name for the region's denomination of origin, which was awarded in 1988.

Perhaps the major reason Rías Baixas was believed to merit its own D.O. is the Albariño grape variety, a native grape which is grown only in this region of the world. While other white grape varieties are grown here and are sometimes blended with Albariño grapes, these wines cannot be labeled Albariño, since the wine must contain 100% Albariño to be labeled as such. Indeed, it is the Albariño variety which has truly put Rías Baixas on the world's wine map. This grape variety, despite its low yields, difficulty of cultivation, and delicate, expensive grapes, produces exceptional wines. Albariño wines are elegant, crisp, dry and aromatic, with a unique and pleasing flavor.

Until very recently, relatively little Albariño wine was produced, and it is only within the last decade or so that this wine has become available to any significant extent outside Galicia. Since the granting of D.O. status, however, numerous bodegas have been founded and existing ones have invested seriously in improving their equipment, vineyard management, winemaking and marketing. These changes have resulted not only in more wine, but in better, consistently superior wines.

There are five subzones within the D.O.

. On the coast around Cambados is the Val do Salnés.
. In the corner where the Portuguese border meets the sea is O Rosal.
. Inland, along the course of the river Miño, lies the Condado do Tea.
. Together the Ría of Vigo is the subzone of Soutomaior.
. And along the river Ulla lies the Ribeira do Ulla.

Albariño wines have been nicknamed the Wines of the Sea, based on their derivation from coastal vineyards and on their compatibility with seafood. For the Rías Baixas are also famous for their wonderful seafood. Fishing villages line the rías and ocean coasts, and fishing is a major industry. It is a delightful experience for locals and visitors alike to spend a sunny afternoon at a charming little outdoor cafe in a Rías Baixas fishing village, enjoying a plate of fresh seafood and a bottle of crisp, dry Albariño wine.

Albariño wines enhance any occasion and any type of cuisine. Try an Albariño soon, as an aperitif or with your next seafood dinner. Albariño wines are now available in many markets in the U.S.. 

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Albarino wine from Galicia, Spain. Information about albariño wines from Spain, gastronomy, tourism. Good white wines.