Salvora, named after an island in Rias Baixas, is produced from a single vineyard within the area of Meano in the Salnes subzone, the most northwestern zone of this Atlantic region. Winemaker Rodrigo Mendez's goal with Salvora is to show Albarino in a different light. Salvora is fermented with its own indigenous yeast and aged in old wood vessels without controlling the temperature. Until the 1980s when stainless steel technology was implemented by all wineries, this is the way Albarino wines were made. Unfortunately, wines in this region are not made like this anymore. Rodri has brought back this traditional style of winemaking to produce uniquely special Albarino wines, such as Salvora.
WHAT MAKES THIS WINE UNIQUE? Made from grapes grown in a single vineyard planted since 1905 in his grandmother's backyard, Salvora is the first wine that winemaker Rodrigo Mendez ever drank. 100% Indigenous yeast fermentation. The wines are fermented and aged without controlling the temperature in old wood vessels.
RATING HISTORY: 2016 92W&S; 2015 90WA; 2014 94WA; 2013 92VM & W&S; 2011 93WA
GRAPE: 100% Albarino. Vines planted in 1905. Tended in sandy and granite soil at sea level.
PAIRING SUGGESTIONS: Albarinos have a fresh, citrus, tangy character that makes them pair wonderfully with all kinds of shellfish and seafood. In Galicia, cockles, razor clams, oysters, clams, octopus and squid are common local dishes, all a great match for this wine. This wine also has the clean acidity necessary to allow it to pair well with some Thai, Vietnamese and Chinese dishes.
VINIFICATION AND AGEING: Salvora is fermented and aged in big old vessels of 600 liters for 12 months before bottling. During the entire process of vinification and ageing, this wine is not chilled. 100% of the yeast is indigenous and the wine does not undergo malolactic fermentation.
PRODUCTION: 333 cases (6 pack)
LOCATION, SOIL, CLIMATE: The Salvora vineyard is located within the Rías Baixas DO region (Zone 1), in the Val do Salnes subzone within the area of Meano. Located in Spain's upper northwest corner, Rías Baixas is just above the border with Portugal. Rías Baixas means low estuaries, a reference to the area's many rivers that lead to the ocean. The soil here is 75% granite and 25% sandy soil. The landscape is low undulating hills and the vineyards are planted on the slopes and on the flat valley floors. This area's climatic conditions give this wine an “Atlantic” character. Of the 5 subzones in Rías Baixas, Val do Salnes is the coolest due to the proximity of the Atlantic Ocean. Yearly rainfall is above 1,700 millimeters (66 inches), or what one would expect in one of the wettest regions in Spain. The area is quite foggy with an average temperature from April-October of 63.4F.
TASTING NOTES: Light brilliant yellow. Ripe, mineral-accented pear, orange zest, white flowers and ginger on the fragrant nose; notes of honey and smoky lees add complexity. Lush orchard and pit fruit flavors gain depth and spiciness with air, picking up a zestier Meyer lemon nuance on the back half. The pear note carries strongly through the seamless, impressively long finish, which shows excellent clarity and bright mineral cut.-- Josh Raynolds.
All photos: Friederike Paetzold