jueves, 11 de abril de 2013

Pazo San Mauro Albariño 2012, Rías Baixas, Spain


Pazo San Mauro, a Single Estate, is located in north-western Spain, Galicia, in Porto-Salvatierra de Miño overlooking the Río Miño which forms the border between Spain and Portugal. The bodega is in the most southerly and mountainous subzone, Condado de Tea, within DO Rías Baixas, in the province of Pontevedra. A winding road leads to the winery that is surrounded by an almost hermetic forest of Atlantic pines. The Atlantic environment of this area is the natural habitat of the Albariño, practically the only conditions in which it may be grown. In addition to the mild temperatures influenced by the proximity of the ocean, there is abundant rainfall interspersed with sunny spells, which ensures that the highest quality potential is achieved by the vines.

Perched on the hilltop in a dominant position are the 16th century buildings of the Pazo and the Chapel, built in 1582, which face the striking Portuguese tower, Lapela, on the other side of the Miño. Marqués de Vargas bought Pazo San Mauro, a property of 300,000 sq. m. in 2003. Their spectacular vineyards, rising up in wide terraces from the Río Miño, form a large natural south-facing amphitheatre enjoying an exceptional microclimate in this most southern and sunniest area, which allows a more complete and early maturity. The high summer temperatures reached in the Pazo San Mauro vineyards enable harvesting to be carried out 15/20 days before other areas of the Rias Baixas denomination and guarantee the required degree of alcohol - the minimum for the Albariño grape is 12deg C, and 11.5deg C for other varieties. Because of the high rainfall and considerable humidity, vines are trained on tall wire trellises anchored by granite or concrete posts, with grapes growing several feet off the ground, high enough for vineyard workers to stand upright beneath the clusters, which also allows for air circulation that counters the effects of humidity-related diseases such as mildew. The leaf canopy also protects from over-exposure to the sun, a practical expedient because Galician summers historically can be surprisingly hot. The winery also works with Treixadura, Loureira and Torrontes grapes, but the true queen of the vineyard is the Albariño. The winery is equipped with a pneumatic press, stainless steel tanks and a cooling system to stabilize the wine in isothermic tanks. Winemaker: Cristina Mantilla is a driving force in Rías Baixas.


- Wine making: 100% Albariño from 12-37 year old vines, carefully ripened and meticulously selected grapes are harvested manually and collected in 20 kg boxes in September, all from estate-owned vineyards. After de-stalking and a light pressing, fermentation takes place for 15 days in stainless steel tanks at a controlled temperature of 17-18deg C. Total production : 200,000 bottles.

- Tasting notes: "Brilliant, straw yellow colour with greenish hues. The nose has an intense varietal personality, ripe apples, peaches, citrus and floral notes with all the splendid characteristics of the Albariño grape. Bone dry, very fruity, full and silky on the palate, fresh citrus, tropical fruits and minerals dominate, well balanced, good body and acidity with a lingering floral finish. Oz Clarke: “nice mix of lemon and mineral flavours and bright zesty quality. A very attractive direct style. Ideal accompaniment to fish, seafood dishes, white meat, poultry, salads and fresh cheese.”

Guía Peñin 2012 - 89 points
The IWC 2012 - Commended
Decanter World Wine Awards 2012 - Commended
The IWC 2011 - Bronze
Robert Parker - 90 points

- Price: £14.00


Rías Baixas DO (Denominación de Origen), a part of the Galicia autonomous region of Spain, is located along the Atlantic coastline. It produces some of the country's most acclaimed dry white wines. In the Galician language, the name Rías Baixas means 'Low Rías' (coastal inlets), which abound here.

Although a comparatively young DO (established in 1988), Rías Baixas has rapidly grown in stature thanks to the efforts of enterprising producers who have adopted modem winemaking techniques to showcase the region's signature grape variety, the stylish Albariño.

Rías Baixas is skirted by the Atlantic Ocean to the west, the Ribeiro region to the east and Portugal to the south. (Rías Baixas and Portugal's Vinho Verde, across the Minho River, share many similarities in terms of varieties and styles.)

Not surprisingly, the Atlantic Ocean has the principal influence on the Rías Baixas climate. Average rainfall is very high here, sometimes exceeding 71 inches (1800 millimeters) a year, making it the greenest part of Spain. Mists and fog coming in from the sea also add to the cool climate.

These conditions help the Albarino grapes to retain crisp and mouth-watering acidity - vital for the distinctive style of the local wines. Overall, the top wines of Rias Baixas are characterized by their intense flavor and a long and pleasant floral aftertaste, often displaying a slight sparkle or fizz and a green hue.

There are five sub-zones within Rias Baixas:

- Val do Salnés: Val do Salnés is located on the lower reaches of the river Umia and centred around the town of Cambados. The landscape is of low undulating hills and the vineyards are planted both on the slopes and on the flat valley floors. The soil is generally rocky and alluvial.

- O Rosal: O Rosal is located further south, along the Portuguese frontier in the basin of the river Miño and extends inwards towards the town of Tui. The vineyards here are planted on terraces on the banks of the Miño. The soils are alluvial.

- Condado do Tea: Condado do Tea, in the west, extends westwards from Tui along the Miño valley up to the neighbouring Ribeiro (DO). The landscape is more abrupt and consists of several small river valleys. The soils are granite and slate based.

- Soutomaior: The Soutomaior sub-zone was incorporated into the Denominación de Origen in 1996 and is located just south of the city of Pontevedra. The soils are light and sandy, and covered with granite.

- Ribera de Ulla:
The Ribera de Ulla sub-zone, to the north of Pontevedra was incorporated recently in 2000. The soils are mainly alluvial.
Source: burridgewine and wikipedia

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