This humble garage winery collaboration, Forjas del Salnes, came to life in 2005 when longtime friends and respected colleagues, vineyard owner Rodrigo Mendez and legendary winemaker Raúl Pérez, joined forces to revitalize a little piece of Galician history that was quickly fading. Red wine in Rías Baixas was the way of the land back in the early 1900’s and when in the 1970’s when surrounding farmers were uprooting their less productive, less desirable red grapes in favor of planting the popularity gaining Albariño, the Mendez family was planting them. It all began in the early 2000’s when it became clear that Rodri’s mission was to execute his grandfather’s lifelong dream of grafting and replanting the nearly extinct, ancient coastal red vineyards in Val do Salnes, and to revive the nearly forgotten wines of his family’s history. . Raul and Rodri became intent on pursuing this shift in the Glaician trend. This unique partnership of winemaking and vineyard knowledge and skill rooted in the past, conscious of the present and vision for the future, has led to the production of Spain’s finest Albariños and rare Galician reds.
WHAT MAKES THIS WINE UNIQUE? Combining the unique techniques and talents of winemaker Raul Perez and lifelong viticulturalist, Rodri Mendez makes for a very interesting project. This Albarino undergoes a process ranging from free run, natural must, to skin fermentation, to foudre fermentation to resting in a stainless steel tank. Though it seems like a tough process, winemaker Raul Perez states, "Harvest is always the same day, every vintage. The day before the rain comes.”
RATING HISTORY: 2016 92+WA; 2015 92 WA & VM; 2015 92JS; 2014 92IWC; 2013 92IWC; 2012 92IWC; 2011 92WA; 2010 92IWC; 2009 93WA
GRAPE: 100% Albarino. Vines planted from 1952 - 1982. Tended in sandy and granite soil at 5 m (16 ft) elevation
VINIFICATION AND AGEING: Naturally occurring fermentation with its own yeast. No malolactic fermentation. 100% Unoaked
PRODUCTION: 600 cases (6 pack)
LOCATION, SOIL, CLIMATE: Rías Baixas is tucked into the green rolling hills of the northwest corner of Spain, just above Portugal, hugging the deep blue Atlantic coastline. It is a breathtaking region overall, and the sub-region of Val do Salnes, the birthplace of Albariño, is no exception. Within the five unique subzones that fall under the D.O. Rías Baixas , Val do Salnes’ prime location is the coolest and most fertile area of the D.O. on the Atlantic coast of Spain. In fact, there is more Albariño vines planted there than any of the other four sub-regions sharing its Rías Baixas name. The soil here is pure granite with top layers of rocks and alluvial soil, perfect for the fresh, Albariño expression. With average temperatures of approximately 60F (16C) between April and October, Rías Baixas is also one of the rainiest areas in Spain with median annual rain falling 63inches (1600mm).This can often cause difficulties in reaching optimum sugar levels during the last few, very vital, weeks before harvest, often resulting in vintage variation.
TASTING NOTES: Pale, green-tinged yellow. Bright and sharply focused on the nose, displaying incisive Meyer lemon, honeysuckle, quinine and mineral scents, along with a hint of ginger in the background. Dry, taut and light on its feet, offering intense, mineral-laced citrus and orchard fruit flavors that show no excess weight. Closes on a spicy note, displaying strong, floral-tinged persistence.-- Josh Raynolds.