Licia Albarino 2018
This wine pairs deliciously with grilled fish—or any kind of seafood—Asian cuisines, rice dishes, salads and grilled vegetables.
Jose Limeres, a native of the Galician town of Pontevedra and owner of several successful restaurants in Madrid, entered the wine business in 1985 when he was searching for a reliable supplier of quality wines for his restaurants. He bought his first property in O Rosal and planted native varieties that flourished in the area’s unique climate and soil. The resulting wines proved a hit, particularly his Albariño, which strikes just the right balance of sugar and acidity. Bodegas La Val is located in the DO of Rías Baixas, in Galicia. Limeres’s first vineyard was in O Rosal, on the Minho River and close to the Atlantic coast. In the 15 years that followed, Limeres expanded with three more vineyards in the area, and today Bodegas La Val covers 200 acres. Soil types in Bodegas La Val’s vineyards range from alluvial and granitic to slate, allowing Limeres to produce both terroir-driven, single-estate wines as well as carefully constructed blends. His wines undergo cold maceration and fermentation in stainless steel tanks.
Named after the rías, or estuarine inlets, that flow as far as 20 miles inland, Rías Baixas is an Atlantic coastal region with a cool and wet maritime climate. The entire region claims soil based on granite bedrock, but the inlets create five subregions of slightly different growing environments for its prized white grape, Albariño.
Val do Salnés on the west coast is said to be the birthplace of Albariño; it is the coolest and wettest of all of the regions. Having been named as the original subregion, today it has the most area under vine and largest number of wineries.
Ribeira do Ulla in the north and inland along the Ulla River is the newest to be included. It is actually the birthplace of the Padrón pepper!
Soutomaior is the smallest region and is tucked up in the hills at the end of the inlet called Ria de Vigo. Its soils are light and sandy over granite.
O Rosal and Condado do Tea are the farthest south in Rías Baixas and their vineyards actually cover the northern slopes of the Miño River, facing the Vinho Verde region in Portugal on its southern bank.
Albariño gives this region its fame and covers 90% of the area under vine. Caiño blanco, Treixadura and Loureira as well as occasionally Torrontés and Godello are permitted in small amounts in blends with Albariño. Red grapes are not very popular but Mencía, Espadeiro and Caiño Tinto are permitted and grown.
Bright and aromatic with distinctive floral and fruity characteristics, Albariño has enjoyed a surge in popularity and an increase in plantings over the last couple of decades. Thick skins allow it to withstand the humid conditions of its homeland, Rías Baixas, Spain, free of malady, and produce a weighty but fresh white. Somm Secret—Albariño claims dual citizenship in Spain and Portugal. Under the name Alvarinho, it thrives in Portugal’s northwestern Vinho Verde region, which predictably, borders part of Spain’s Rías Baixas.