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Rodrigo Méndez of Forjas del Salnés (known locally as Rodri) is the 5th generation in a family that has grown and crafted quality wine for centuries. Today he is considered one of the greatest Albariño producers in the world, offering more than 15 small-batch bottlings from the micro-terroirs around the Val do Salnés, the most coastal subzone in DO Rías Baixas—an appellation that was established by his grandfather. In another homage to his family’s legacy, Rodri is also leading the revitalization of several nearly extinct local red varietals.
Thanks to his rigorous approach and deep regional knowledge, Rodri’s wines are pure expressions of the diverse Salnés terroirs. As a winemaker, he embraces historic techniques that highlight the personality of the different vineyard sites and his basic philosophies and commitment to organic and low-intervention production (native yeast fermentation, extended lees contact without batonnage, minimal sulfur) are consistent across all his wines. As a grower, Rodri has deep respect for his region’s ancient vineyard sites trained in the traditional Parral (pergola) system; he takes a hands-on approach by insisting on longer hang times and manual harvest, all while practicing organic agriculture.
WHAT MAKES THIS WINE UNIQUE?
Winemaker 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 with balanced acidity and low in alcohol (12%). This is a red wine that has undergone a process of whole cluster fermentation.
2020 93 T Atkin; 2019 93 T Atkin, 92 W&S; 2018 93 WA
40% Caiño, 20% Espadeiro, 20% Loureiro, 20% Sousón. Vines planted since 1963. Tended in sandy and granite soil at 5 meters (16 ft) elevation.
VINIFICATION AND AGING:
12 months in 8 year old French oak barrels.
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.
This is an Atlantic red with the spicy, black pepper nose, typical of Caiño, and a wild character of herbs and flowers. The palate is medium-bodied with supple tannins, a silky, fine texture and great freshness, long and really tasty finish with a salty note.
1.3 lbs (.59 kg)