In such an influential European wine producing country, why has this region generally remained off the radar? The climate is cool and wet, based on its vicinity to the Atlantic Ocean, so perhaps the weather alone contributes to the fact that it is not much of a tourist destination.
The region is made up of five Denominación de Origen: Ribeiro, Ribeira Sacra, Monterrei, Valdeorras, and the better known Rias Baixas. The vineyards in the Ribeira Sacra in particular are steeply terraced above the Miño and Sil rivers. Here, the landscape is undeniably stunning and seemingly untouched, with the exception of the vineyards, old monasteries, and chapels sprinkled around the hillsides. Farming these intensively terraced vineyards is undoubtedly a challenge.
There is a long history of viticulture in Galacia, which started with the Romans butwine quality suffered for many years due to high-yield vineyard practices, the replacement of vines with more lucrative crops, and a number of other factors. Only until the last decade or so have quality-minded producers emerged with the intention to create wines of quality and character. I have grown increasingly fond of this region over time as a result of the wine’s nerve and authenticity. Both reds and whites are fresh and acid-driven due to the cool climate and the producers we carry generally focus on native grape varieties such as Mencía, Albariño, Godello, and Treixadura.
Paul Marcus Wines is carrying more and more Mencía because it’s light-bodied, charming, and versatile with many foods. In the article, “Mencia: Think of wine from this Spanish grape as Beaujolais with bull’s horns,” Beppi Crosariol—from the Globe and Mail—hits the nail on the head with a description of the grape as “a cross between Beaujolais’s light-bodied Gamay grape, herbal Cabernet Franc, and chewy-spicy Syrah.” Between the natural beauty of the region, and its exciting native grape varieties, there is much to explore and enjoy!