Rias Baixas, the next favorite white on yacht wine lists?

Rias Baixas, the next favorite white on yacht wine lists?

Well if you ask me, it is certainly a strong candidate! Despite it being quite rare for the moment on yachts it has all the attributes that consumers like in Pouilly Fumé, Sancerre and Pinot Grigio’s, only in a more aromatic and concentrated manner.

 Vineyard landscape in Rias Baixas

Vineyard landscape in Rias Baixas

Rias Baixas (as you perhaps read in our Galicia post) is a Spanish white wine region in North Western Spain. It is by far the most famous DO in the area, receiving its DO status in 1988. The main grape variety grown here is the crisp and peach scented Albariño, but Loureiro and Treixadura are also grown and are perfect blending partners. There are 4 sub regions in the area of which Val de Salnes represents 45%. A particularity here in Rias Baixas is that the pergola training system is still very common. This solution allows for a dryer canopy which the air and wind easily can access, an important feature in this very wet region of Spain. The main soil is granite, schist and sand which gives a lovely minerality and freshness to the wines.

During my recent trip to Galicia we visited around 20 producers and tasted over 300 wines but one estate and one particular wine made me ‘sit up straight and be quiet inside’.

Paso de Señorans

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This amazing producer is located in the Salnés Valley in Rias Baixas and dates back to the 16th century. Although grapes have been grown at the estate for a long time it only began its wine making career in 1989 when it was bought by husband and wife team Marisol Bueno and Javier Mareque. Marisol is an impressive and dynamic woman who has had an important impact on the region. She was the driving force behind the creation of the DO Rias Baixas in 1988, it was even her husband that came up with the odd name Rias Baixas. After the creation of the DO she remained as its president for 20 years. This commitment to the region and the quality of its wine were clearly communicated through her wines.

They produce 300 000 bottles per year and 25% of the production comes from their own vineyards. The remaining grapes comes from 150 different producers and from 500 different plots (in accordance with the highly fragmented land ownership in Galicia). Many of the growers have been supplying Marisol for over 25 years and have a close relationship with Señorans. Yields are around 5000kg /ha and average age of the vines is 40 years (the older a vine, the better the quality of the grapes). All the vineyards are trained to the traditional Pergola (Parra) system.

 The traditional Pergola system to facilitate a dry canopy and avoid fungal diseases.

The traditional Pergola system to facilitate a dry canopy and avoid fungal diseases.

In terms of wine making the wines goes through 4-5h of skin contact, fermentation around 16⁰c with indigenous yeast. All in stainless steel. Generally 5 months on the fine lees although Seleccion de Añada sees 30 months of lees contact. Lees stirring only in the beginning and frequency is depending on the vintage. Around 5-10% of the total blend goes through MLF. The ´Collection´ wines did not see longer lees ageing, only longer bottle ageing prior to release.

Wines tasted

2014 Pazo Señorans                                        

Fresh and bright nose of white stone fruit, elderflowers, pink grapefruit and fennel. Palate is vibrant and mid-weight with crisp firm acid. Lifted concentrated fruit and lively balance and good finish.

2013  Pazo Señorans                                  

Fresh aromatic nose with aromas of peach, honeysuckle, quince and fennel. Medium bodied with excellent fruit concentration, crisp broad acid spine, equally lively and fresh as the 2014 but with a slightly broader and rounder structure. Fairly long finish with a pleasant grape fruit feel to it.

2012  Pazo Señorans                                                      

Ripe inviting nose of stone fruit, notes of pineapple and quince lifted by perfumed blossom notes. Mid weight, crisp firm acid, well balanced showing good depth and concentration. Slight pleasant phenolic feel to the texture which is adding charm. Lingering finish.

The Collection series was created as Marisol was seeking to show the ageing potential of Pazo Señorans. These wines are the same as the straight Pazo Senorañs, only release after several years of bottle age at the estate. 

2010  Pazo Señorans Collection                             

Restrained, elegant mineral nose of chamomile, apple skins and blossom. Palate is mid-weight with focus and purity, brisk firm acidity and tight structure with excellent concentration giving broad and long length and fresh finish.

2011  Pazo Señorans Collection                                                                  

Slightly rounder and riper feel compared to the 2010. Nose is dominated by white stone fruit, quince along with fennel and chamomile. Palate is medium bodied, great concentration of fruit and depth. Crisp balanced and broad acidic spine and a firm/ripe feel to the texture. Good length.

The Seleccion de Añada comes from a single vineyard and has been made every year since 1995 apart from 1998. From 1999 and onwards this wins receive 30 months of lees ageing and 1 year on bottle prior to release. Both the 07 and 01 was indeed impressive wines showing how gracefully Albariño can age.

2007 Pazo Señorans seleccion de Añada                       

Elegant and complex with smoky mineral tones combined with peach and blossom in a lifted and perfumed sense, lovely nose! Excellent balance and concentration. Firm crisp and broad acidity coupled with a lush generous fruit on mid palate. Firm, generous long and mineral, very exciting!

Please let us know if you think your guests or owner would be interested in adding an Albariño to their list. For now we will import two of the wines above, the Selecccion de Anada and 2014 Albariño and I look forward to enjoying them again!

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