Leirana Areas de Arra
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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?
This exquisite Albariño is grown in "beach sand" soils, in a parcel in Arra, which combines plots of 20 and 120 years' old and sits just 30 meters (100 ft) from the sea.
2018 98 T Atkin, 96 WE "Editors' Choice"
100% Albariño. Vines planted in 1960. Tended in sandy soil at 20m (65 ft) elevation
VINIFICATION AND AGING:
Naturally occurring fermentation with its own yeast. Aged on its lees for 12 months in neutral French oak foudres.
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.
Salty sea shore, sourdough, green olive and citrus pith characters are complemented by the faintest whisper of oak. - Tim Atkin