Journey to the Heart of Albariño
21 July, 2017
The Galician district of Salnés, in the province of Pontevedra, has the honour of being the cradle of one of Spain’s supreme varieties of white wine – albariño. Made from the grape variety of the same name, these wines are young, fresh and fruity, with the right touch of acidity, making for a delightful experience on the palate and pairing to perfection with one of the region’s main products – seafood. Apart from the wines, touring this grape-growing region is packed with enticements as the land is redolent with spectacular scenery, dominated by the presence of the Arousa estuary and its typical country homes, known as pazos, as well as its hórreos (granaries raised on stilts), its cuisine and, needless to say, the affable character of its people.
You are bound to have a host of experiences in the numerous wine cellars you will encounter on your way. The Pazo de Rubianes is the most spectacular example by far. Designated a “Garden of International Excellence”, and with a history going back 600 years, this priceless country manor is surrounded by gardens likely to enchant any nature lover. For its part, the magnificent example of 16th-century Galician stately home that is the Pazo de Señoráns will take you back in time. In the town of Sanxenxo stands the Adega Eidos, built in a far more modern style than the preceding ones as its facilities date from 2003. It affords some excellent views of the Pontevedra estuary. Also built in more contemporary style is Paco & Lola Wine Cellar and Vineyards, founded in 2005, with over 22 hectares given over to vineyards and wines increasingly more in vogue.
And, in between moving from one wine cellar to the next, we recommend stopping off at the Cambados Wine Museum where you can learn about the history, art, geography, grass-roots culture and all viniviticultural aspects of the Rías Baixas DO.
A Pause Along the Way
Man does not live by wine alone and at some point you will need to refuel, so your best option is to do so in the typical ambience of a local pazo. One such manor that is well worth visiting is the Pazo Carrasqueira, a fine example of typical Galician architecture. Built in the 18th century, it has now been turned into a nine-room hotel, with its own albariño cellar of course. Another interesting option is Lagar de Costa, a family winery with lodgings that offer a tour of their vineyards and the island of A Toxa.
The Festa do Albariño in Cambados
Each summer the heartland of albariño wine production is given over to the Festa do Albariño in Cambados.Designated a Tourist Interest Site in 1990, this is the crowning event related to albariño wine-making. What started out in 1953 as a contest between wine producers, promoted by Bernardino Quintanilla Álvarez and Ernesto Zarate, is currently a full-blown festival, with concerts and all kinds of activities suited to all audiences. This year the festival takes place from 2 to 6 August and provides the ideal excuse for tasting the great local albariños in an incomparable setting and ambience, a great final fling after a route through this spectacular wine-growing region.
Book your Vueling to Santiago de Compostela, less than an hour away from Cambados, and gear up to tour this viticultural region dotted with pazos and homesteads full of charm and great wines.
Text by Los Viajes de ISABELYLUIS
21 July, 2017