Leirana Finca Genoveva (SV)
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? This unique collaboration between winemaker Raúl Pérez and lifelong viticulturist, Rodri Mendez extracts single Vineyard selections, old vines, coastal vines and red varieties in the subzone Val do Salnes. Wines are Fresh acid, low alcohol (12.5%) red that undergo a process of whole cluster fermentation in 12 year old foudre. Winemaker Raul Perez states, "harvest is always the same day, every vintage. The day before the rain comes."
RATING HISTORY: 2015 96WA; 2015 94JS; 2014 95 W&S "Year's Best Galician Wines"; 2013 93 VM; 2012 94WA; 2011 93JS; 2010 93WA
GRAPE: 100% Albarino. Vines planted in 1862. Tended in sandy and granite soil at 5 m (16 ft) elevation
VINIFICATION AND AGEING: 12 months in 4 year old large foudre of 2,500 lit.
PRODUCTION: 300 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: Brilliant straw-yellow. Fresh quince, tangerine and lemongrass on the intensely perfumed nose, which is complicated by floral and quinine nuances that build with air. Shows impressive nerve and mineral lift on the palate, offering vibrant citrus and orchard fruit flavors and a suave floral nuance. Finishes taut, racy and very long, displaying superb focus and an echo of florality.-- Josh Raynolds.
All photos: Friederike Paetzold