DO Rias Baixas
Established

DO status awarded 1988.

Location

Situated in north-west Spain in the region of Galicia, within the province of Pontevedra, the DO Rías Baixas (‘low estuaries’) has three distinct zones - Val do Salnés in the north and on the west coast, El Rosal (or O Rosal) which extends from the west coast along the northern bank of the river Miño (which at this point provides the border between Spain and Portugal), and Condado do Tea, which extends further inland along the river valley. Some of the most westerly vineyards are almost at sea level, but the mountains above the river Miño rise to 2000m, where the average height of the vineyards is 500m above sea level. The vineyards up-river in El Rosal, are planted on terraces on the steep slopes of the mountains above the river.

Climate

Rías Baixas is dominated by the Atlantic, and as a result the region of Galicia is the coolest and wettest part of Spain. The summers can be dry and warm with temperatures reaching around 30°C, and the winters harsh, although the region still enjoys around 2,200 hours of sunshine. The generally cooler temperatures of this area means that the region is perfectly located to produce white wines. The most famous of the region’s grapes, the Albariño, thrives under these conditions.

Rías Baixas experiences up to 2000mm of rainfall per year which, while good for yield, can cause the crops to rot. Traditionally many growers have trained their vines high on pergolas, to help maximize air circulation and prevent mildew and other fungal diseases. The modern trend is to train the vines on wires, which helps crop spraying and harvesting.

Soil

The soil of Rías Biaxas varies according to the zone, and even from vineyard to vineyard, but generally it is sandy, slightly acid and not very deep. In the Salnés valley and El Rosal, the soil is alluvial over the local pinkish granite. In Condado do Tea, granite and slate appear on the surface with light, granitic soils.

Viticulture

The Albariño grape is the main variety grown in Rías Baixas and is the same grape as grown in northern Portugal, where it is used to produce Vinho Verde. However, the type of wine this grape produces in Spain is totally different to that produced in Portugal, with a higher alcoholic content (it must have at least 12%), more floral tones and less acidity.
Permitted varieties of grapes for the production of white wine include: Albariño (90% of vines grown), Loureira Blanca, Treixadura, Caiño Blanco, Torrontés and Godello.

Permitted varieties of wine for the production of red wine include: Caiño Tinto, Espadeiro, Loureira Tinta, Sousón, Brancellao and Mencía.

Consejo Regulador for DO Rías Biaxas

Cabanas-Salcedo
36143 (Pontevedra)
Tel: +34 986 854850
Fax: +34 986 864546
Email: consejo@doriasbaixas.com
Website: www.doriasbaixas.com
Rias Baixas

Bodegas from Rias Baixas on our wine list:

© 2003-2008 Decanter Wines Limited, Leatherhead, Surrey
Telephone: +44 (0)1372 376 127 Fax: +44 (0)1372 386 615