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Comprehensive description of all European growing areas, their grape varieties, traditions and legal rules with maps.

D.O. Rías Baixas

Description to D.O. Rías Baixas

DO area (Spanish: Rías Bajas) in the province of Pontevedra in the south-west of the north-western Spanish region of Galicia on the Atlantic coast on the border with Portugal. The name means "lower bays" and is the designation for four narrow sea bays reaching deep into the land, which were formed from flooded valleys of the rivers Ría de Muros y Noia, Ría de Arousa, Ría de Pontevedra and Ría de Vigo. There are five subzones, in all of them dominated by the white grape variety Albariño(Alvarinho), which occupies 95% of the vineyards:

  • Condado do Tea (County of Tea): The mountainous area named after the river Tea (a tributary of the Miño) is the second largest, with about 550 hectares of vineyards on granite and slate soils. It is located near the border with Portugal near the town of Ponteareas.
  • O Rosal: This area is located near the coast, south of the city of Vigo. The terraced vineyards cover over 300 hectares on granite and alluvial soils along the Miño river.
  • Ribeira do Ulla: The area covers around 50 hectares of vineyards, mainly alluvial. It is located south of the famous pilgrimage site or destination of the Santiago de Compostela pilgrimage route. Here mainly red wines grow.
  • Soutomaior: The smallest area, with 20 hectares of vineyards on sandy soils over granite bedrock, is located on the Verdugo river near Pontevedra. Only Albariño is cultivated here.
  • Val do Salnés: The largest area, with 1,500 hectares of vineyards on granite, rock and alluvial soils, is considered the origin of the Albariño grape. It is located on the lower course of the Umia River, near the coast, north of Pontevedra. It is the coldest and wettest area.

Rías Baixas - Karte und Condado do Tea Weinberge

Caused by the Atlantic winds, there is precipitation of up to 1,300 millimetres a year (three times as much as in Rioja). The humid and cool climate favours the development of fungal diseases. The vineyards cover a total of around 2,500 hectares. Most of them produce fresh, sparkling, dry white wines that are among the best in Spain. By the way, they were already exported to the whole of Europe in the 16th century. They are mostly subjected to malolactic fermentation.

The white wines must contain at least 70% Albariño(Alvarinho) and a maximum of 30% Caíño Blanco, Loureira(Loureiro), Torrontés(Fernão Pires) or Treixadura(Trajadura). The red wines are made from Brancellao(Alvarelhão), Caíño Tinto(Borraçal), Espadeiro(Camaraou Noir), Loureira Tinta or Sousón(Vinhão) and Mencía.

Well known producers are Adegas Castrobrey, Adegas Galegas, Adegas Tollodouro, Adegas Valmiñor, Agnusdei, Agro de Bazán, Albariño Santiago Roma, As Laxas, Benito Santos, Couto, Castro Martín, Comercial Oula, Coto de Xiabre, Fillaboa, Lagar de Besada, Lagar de Fornelos, Lusco Do Miño, Martínez Serantes, Pablo Padín, Palacio de Fefiñanes, Pazo de Barrantes, Pazo Pondal, Pazo San Mauro, Pazo de Señorans, Terras Gauda and Valdamor

Picture left: Rías Baixas
Picture right: Ruta do Viño Rías Baixas

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