Rías Baixas Region
Sub region of Galicia region
Rías Baixas is a sub region of Galicia situated in the North West of Spain along the atlantic coastline. It is without a doubt the most important DO in the region and owes most of the acclaim to the Albariño grape which thrives here.
Rías Baixas neighbors include Ribeiro to the east and Minho (home of Vinho Verde) to the south, just across the Portuguese border.
For a wine to be labeled Rías Baixas, its varietal composition must be at least 70% Albarino. Depending on the sub-zone it comes from, the other grapes used are Treixadura,Torrontes and Loureiro.
The five designated subzones in the Rías Baixas DO are as follows,
Val do Salnés: This is the original and oldest sub-zone with the most area under vine and the highest concentration of wineries. Located on the Atlantic coast, it surrounds the historic town of Cambados. The soil is granitic and rocky with alluvial top-soil. It is also the coolest and wettest sub-zone with an average temperature of just 55º F. Val do Salnés is the birthplace of the Albariño grape.
Condado do Tea: “Tea County” is named after the river Tea, a tributary of the Miño River. Located in a fairly mountainous area along the Miño, this is the second largest sub-zone. The most inland, it is a warmer, drier area, with an average temperature of 59º F that can soar to 104 º F during the summer. Soils contain granite and slate.
O Rosal: Also lying along the Miño River where it joins the Atlantic Ocean, this sub-zone forms the border with Portugal. With granite bedrock and alluvial topsoil, the vineyards are terraced along the sides of the Miño.
Ribeira do Ulla: The newest Rías Baixas sub-zone, this area was registered in 2000 and is composed mostly of alluvial soil. It is located inland, southeast of Santiago de Compostela, and east of Padrón, a town famous for its small, green frying peppers, a popular tapa.
Soutomaior: Nestled in the hills at the head of the Rίa de Vigo, it is the smallest of the sub-zones and was registered in 1996. Soils are light and sandy over granite bedrock.