Goliardo A Telleira (SV)
This humble garage winery collaboration, Forjas del Salnes, came to life in 2005 when vineyard owner and winemaker Rodrigo Mendez began 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 1900s. In the 1970s, when surrounding farmers were uprooting their less productive, less desirable red grapes in favor of planting increasingly popular Albariño grapes, the Mendez family was planting them. It all began in the early 2000s when Rodri's mission became clear: to execute his grandfather’s lifelong dream of grafting and replanting the nearly extinct, ancient coastal red vineyards in Val do Salnes and revive the nearly forgotten wines of his family’s history. Rodri is intent on pursuing this shift in the Galician trend. With his winemaking and vineyard knowledge and skill rooted in the past, Rodri remains conscious of the present while having a vision for the future, and is producing some of Spain’s finest Albarinos and rare Galician reds.
WHAT MAKES THIS WINE UNIQUE? The unique winemaking techniques and talents of lifelong viticulturalist, Rodri Mendez, make 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.
RATING HISTORY: 2015 94WA; 2015 93JS and W&S "Year's Best Galician Wines"; 2014 93WA & 93VM; 2013 93IWC; 2012 94IWC; 2011 93IWC
GRAPE: 100% Albarino. Vines planted in 1973. Tended in sandy soil at 5 m (16 ft) elevation.
PRODUCTION: 250 cases (4 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: Light bright yellow. Mineral-accented pear, orange zest and iodine on the incisive nose, accented by a suggestion of quinine. Dry and nervy on the palate, offering vibrant, densely packed Meyer lemon and pear flavors underscored by a suave floral element. Youthfully taut and focused on the impressively long, chewy finish, which features nervy citrus fruit tones and lingering stoniness. This complex, concentrated yet lively wine reminded me a lot of a top-drawer example of Puligny-Montrachet. -- Josh Raynolds.
All photos: Friederike Paetzold