MS Topic of the Week 2/6/2020 - Advanced

Great Châteauneuf-du-Pape Blanc discussion last post from , , , , , and . Made me hungry! Thirsty too! 

This week: Rias Baixas subzones

What is the general typicity of each area? What are the major differences in climate/soil/topography for each? Are any easier to recognize blind than others?

  • Val do Salnes- This is the largest subzone in terms of production. Rocky granitic soils, this zone has the coolest average temperature and is defined by its proximity to the coast. The wines are the most fresh/citric/salty but often lack the floral/terpene character of fruit from further south. These are generally considered more challenging to blind taste.

    Condado do Tea- Named for the Tea tributary of the Minho, this subzone is the furthest inland and thusly the warmest. In addition to granitic soils there is a notable presence of slate here. These wines, if labeled by subzone, can contain up to 70% combined Albariño and Treixadura.

    O Rosal- Also located along the coast, this subzone is said by some to have the most-pronounced floral aromas in the wines and is considered along with Condado do Tea the “easier” to blind taste accurately. In a similar fashion to Condado do Tea, these wines if labeled by subzone can contain up to 70% combined Albariño and Loureiro.

    Ribeira do Ulla/Sotomayor are the smallest in terms of production. These are a relative unknown to me; the Galicia Masterclass I attended made it sound as though nobody is really labeling as either of these... Would love some more info!

  • To add a bit to Skyler's great summary:

    Val do Salnes and Ribeira do Ulla, the northernmost subzones, require a minimum of 70% of the recommended varieties: Albariño, Loureira, Treixadura, Caiña Blanca.

    In Ribeira do Ulla, the soils are mainly alluvial.  Soutomaior, the smallest subzone in the center of the region, has soils that are alluvial over granite, like those in Val do Salnés and O Rosal.  Condado do Tea, on the Minho River, has both granite and slate on the surface with a lighter granite subsoil.