Some people are lucky without realising it. That includes anyone who’s ever tasted wine from Rias Baixas
, without knowing just how the odds were stacked against them even sampling a sip of that molten sunshine. It’s in short supply. And for good reasons which are only likely to grow as the years go on. Well, here’s a summary of why the good stuff from Galicia is worth its weight in gold.
First of All - Here’s What’s at Stake
Wines in Rias Baixas usually include the Albariño grape. They provide a smack of peach on the palette, and occasionally, a cheeky little spritz of bubbles too. Also, it’s a light wine. As it’s got plenty of crisp acidity, it’s an ideal match with seafood, and it’s excellent with oysters.
Its especially good to try with a lunch of smoked salmon and poached egg on Christmas Eve. That’s because the acidity brings out the flavours in the salty fish, and it cuts through the oiliness of the salmon. Of course, the fruity, peachy flavours are great with seafood too. It’s a delicious light meal, before the onslaught of Christmas the next day.
Martin Códax 2015 is an excellent example. Made from 100% Albariño, it has the bubbles which go with young examples of the wine, and the aftertaste is long, with the peachy notes characteristic of the grape. Hints of lemon make it even better with seafood.
So Why Isn’t There More Wonderful, Wonderful Rias Baixas?
Getting Rias Baixas out of Galicia is a bit like smuggling art out of the country. Because the locals know it’s so good, they make sure they get a decent share of it too, and so much of Rias Baixas never leaves Spain. Quite apart from the locals, Rias Baixas also has an international following. What’s left is split up amongst the world’s wine drinking countries, and so you’re lucky to get what you can.
The Locals Know About It Too.
Galicia is one of Spain’s most northerly wine regions. Being in a marginal wine growing area, yearly fluctuations in global temperature are more likely to affect production, just as with Champagne in France. It’s also close to the coast, which means it gets all the wet weather coming in off the Atlantic. The result is that vintages can be disrupted by all the rain, so when there’s Rias Baixas available, it’s best to buy a bottle before it goes.
Shockingly, Not Every Part of Spain is Warm, Sunny and Dry.
Spain has a higher area under vine than Italy or France. Yet it’s output is much, much lower than either of those two countries, and as a result, it can lead to some very characterful, intense wines. On the other hand, there’s less to go around to start with.
That’s why you’re not just singularly lucky to taste Rias Baixas. You’re not even doubly lucky. You’re triply lucky, and it’s worth the price tag that goes with it. Perhaps this is your day to buy a lottery ticket.
Some Real Corkers at Reasonable Prices:
Paco & Lola. This bottle has 13% alcohol, and being a preservative, the relatively higher alcohol means the wine has held onto a little more flavour from the grapes. It is overflowing with mango, pineapple and lemony notes. It’s an example of a lesser known grape - the Verdejo - and one that’s well worth sampling.
Pulpo is a lighter style. Being less complex, it’s great for knocking back chilled on a warm summer’s day, but it still has the fruity notes of its more premium brethren.
Bye For Now
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