This humble garage winery collaboration, Forjas del Salnes, came to life in 2005 when respected winemaker and vineyard owner Rodrigo Mendez decided 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 and when in the 1970s 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 2000s 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. Rodri became intent on pursuing this shift in the Galician trend. With skill rooted in the past and consciousness of the present, Rodri has a vision for the future and is producing some of Spain’s finest albariños and rare Galician reds.
WHAT MAKES THIS WINE UNIQUE? This unique wine is made from single vineyard selections, old vines, coastal vines and red varieties in the subzone Val do Salnes. This is a fresh, acid, low alcohol red wine with balanced acidity that undergoes a process of whole cluster fermentation in 12-year-old foudre.
RATING HISTORY: 2014 94 W&S, 2014 94WA; 2013 93VN & 93WA; 2011 94WA; 2009 92IWC
GRAPE: 100% Caino. Vines planted in 1862. Tended in sandy and granite soil at 80 m (262 ft) elevation
PRODUCTION: 150 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 63 inches (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: Very pale-colored, it has an intoxicating nose of black pepper (always a clear giveaway for the grape), wild herbs, balsamic aromas, flowers and wild berries. It is really aromatic and complex. The palate is fresh and vibrant with ultra-fine tannins, great acidity that is both intense and light, and a rustic and elegant mouthfeel. All in, this is a wine of contrast that offers great freshness. World class.