Rías Baixas Tasting – 23 April 2013

The Guild were very honoured that Izaskun Zurbitu, Marketing Director from the Economic & Commercial Office of the Spanish Embassy, hosted a tasting of the wines of the Rías Baixas region of Spain.  The tasting was presented by Lisa O’Doherty, a member of the Guild of Sommeliers, who has represented Ireland both nationally and internationally on our behalf.  She is wine buyer and consultant for “The K Club”.

Rías Baixas  appellation background

Situated in north-west Spain near Pontevedra and south of Santiago de Compostela.

DO (Donominacion de Origen) 1988.  Vineyard area = 4,048 hectares.

5 sub-zones – Val do Salinés, Condado do Tea, O Rosal, Ribeira do Ulla and Soutomaior

Hilly vineyards with granite soil.  Mild climate influenced by the Altantic ocean with enough rain to ensure a green landscape and plenty of sunshine to allow the grapes to reach full ripeness.

Training systems – Pergola and Cordon

Grape varieties – Albariño is the principal variety, also Loureira, Treixadura, Caiño, Godello and Torrontés.

Producers are mainly co-operatives with 6,712 growers

18 million litres exported (54% of production)  Ireland is the second most important market per capita.

Five Albariño wines from the excellent 2011 vintage were tasted

Maior de Mendoza Sobre Lías 2011, Albariño,  12% abv. www.maiordemendoza.com

Importer: Distinctive Drinks, Colin Egan 086 0488383

Pale straw, with hints  of pear and apple on the nose.  Clean, spritzy and a very fruity style – ripe citrus and melon.  Crisp, juicy and a lingering finish.

Albarino de Fefiñanes 2011, Bodegas del Palacio de Fefiñanes, 12.5% abv. www.fefiñanes.com

Importer: Smith & Whelan Wines Ltd.  Sacha Whelan 087 2618754

Aromatic aromas, with green citrus fruits and minerally hints.  Excellent fruit on the palate, with grapefruit, lemon/lime flavours.  Good weight and crispness.  Ideal with Thai food.

Gran Bazán Ambar 2011, Agro de Bazán, Albariño 12.5% abv. www.agrodebazan.com

Importer: Bubble Brothers, Billy Forrester  021 4845198

Pear fruit dominates the nose.  Attractive lemon and grapefruit flavours, with lipsmacking acidity and a salty, minerally edge on the aftertaste.

Albariño Sobre Lías 2011, Bodegas Castro Martin, Albariño, 12% abv. www.bodegascastromartin.com

Importer: James Nicholson, John Masterson 086 0446472

Floral scents, with touches of peach.  Lovely palate of white peach, apricot and grapefruit.  Zesty, minerally and a very classic Albarino style.  A good match for pork.

Sin Palabras 2011, Adegas Castrobrey Albariño, 12.5% abv. www.castrobrey.com

Importer: Clada Group Ltd. Declan Owens 091 706600

Herbaceous, mineral and peach aromas lead to a palate full of stone fruit,  citrus and lemon zestiness. Clean, with a silky texture and a long, juicy finish.

Tasting notes by Catherine Griffith

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