Bodegas Gerardo Méndez, 2019 Albariňo Do Ferreiro | Rias Baixas, Spain

By Dirk Smits

Wine of the Week – Albariňo Do Ferreiro | October 25, 2021

Rias Baixas, meaning “lower estuaries or rivers” was recognized as DO (appellation) in 1988 for wines coming from the province of Pontevedra and the south of the province of Coruna. Both areas are located in Galicia which is one of the most beautiful areas of “Green” Spain. It is located in the extreme northwest of the Iberian Peninsula, on the Atlantic Ocean, and is separated from the rest of Spain by the Cantabrian Mountains. Tiny fishing villages lie along the steep coastline with its many coves and beaches. Inland, the mountain roads and steep valleys offer a breathtaking, but slow, journey into Spain’s interior. The largest city is the port city of Vigo but the most famous is Santiago de Compostela. The city’s cathedral has attracted many pilgrims since the 9th century.

Galicia takes its name from the Gallaeci, the Celtic people living north of the Douro River during the last millennium BC. Although Celtic archaeological artifacts have been found, the language is entirely Romance. The Celtic identity remains in the name of the region, the landscape and the legends (The Holy Grail, for example), the playing of the bagpipes and some pre-Christian customs such as the horreos. These are barns on stone mushroom-shaped legs (so mice can’t get in) and with holes in the walls to store grain and corn in winter. At the beginning of the Christian period, the pagan orbs and nails that usually adorned the lower eaves were diplomatically replaced by crosses.

In the 16th and 17th centuries, overseas trade, especially with the colonies in South America, brought great prosperity to Galicia, which is still evident in the flourishing of Baroque architecture, especially in places such as Santiago de Compostela. In the 18th and 19th centuries, Galicia experienced a rural exodus. People mainly moved to the cities along the coast. However, recent developments show new prosperity there and an optimistic wind is blowing through the region again. In terms of wine culture, the revival is largely due to the upgrading of the Albariňo wines to DO (Denominación de Origen) status in 1988.

Bodegas Gerardo Méndez farm over 175 tiny plots of albariňo by hand, all located in the Salnés subzone of Rias Baixas. This valley’s proximity to the ocean, ideal climate due to the natural protection by mountain ranges, and decomposed granitic soil have gained the reputation for being the best zone in Rias Baixas for growing profound albariňo. The blend of these plots is what makes up Do Ferreiro Albariňo.

Bodegas Gerardo Méndez, Albariňo Do Ferreiro, Rias Baixas 2019

Origin: Rias Baixas, Subzone Salnés, Spain
Varietals: Albariňo
Sustainability: sustainable practices
Suggested Retail Price: $28.00
ABV: 13%

After a manual harvest, the grapes are destemmed and given a brief cold maceration. Alcoholic fermentation is started with indigenous yeasts using the pied de cuve method in temperature-controlled stainless steel tanks. The wine is then aged on the lees for at least six months before bottling.

The 2019 Do Ferreiro Albariňo has a bright yellow color with green hues. The nose shows aromas of white flower, citrus and a hint of minerality. The palate is vibrant with good acidity showing good balance and length, finishing on a note of salinity.

Suggested food pairings: as an aperitif, oysters, seafood, sushi, and fish.

> For more information, visit the Gerardo Méndez official website.