Denomination of Origin (DO) Rías Baixas is renowned for the Albariño grape, an indigenous variety that produces some of the world’s foremost white wines. Located in the Galicia region of northwestern Spain, the DO was formally established in 1988.
Over 99% of all wine produced in Rías Baixas is white, however, differences in microclimates, terroir and grape varieties in the five sub-zones, as well as different winemaking techniques, make for wonderful diversity.
DO Rias Baixas permits 8 types of wines comprising 12 grape varieties, however, white Albariño grape represents 96% of all plantings. Other important permitted grapes include Treixadura, traditionally blended with Albariño and Loureiro.
Planting Albariño at the proper height and exposure to ensure even, healthy ripening is essential to quality. Vines are traditionally widely spaced and trained on stone pergolas made of the same granite as the soils below. To counter the region’s rainfall and humidity, most vines are trained on a wire trellis called a “parra” anchored by granite posts. Parras are up to seven feet high, allowing breezes to flow through for maximum circulation to prevent mildew and to promote even ripening. They also make for a spectacular setting!
At the centre of the Rias Baixas and Albariño wine region is the town of Cambados, which is where we based ourselves for our visit. From Cambados there are several bodegas you can visit within just a few kilometres, with almost two hundred wineries in the region! Most of the Bodegas require a prior appointment and include a tour of the winery, many of which are set in spectacular surroundings, with a number of the historical Pazo's also able to be explored. There are, however, a few wineries where you can just visit and taste the wine, and while appointments are not always required, we would recommend making an appointment just to ensure there will be someone available, particularly if you would like to do a tasting in a language other than Spanish.
There are also some beautiful dining options in Cambados. For a more formal dinner, be sure to visit Yayo Daporta, beautiful food, great selection of Galician wines and a nice greeting from the Chef. For more casual dining options, there are a number of great restaurants and bars on and around the square on Praza de Asorel. We enjoyed fantastic meals at Vago Vinos and A Fonte Do Vino (we highly recommend the Oysters, Razor Clams and Squid!!), and for a great cocktail with a fun team, stop in at Velvet Cocktail Bar!
Cambados is also a great area to explore on foot and there are aa couple of nice walks down along the waterfront to the Torre San Surdurnino and a good lookout from the Mirador de A Pastora, which also has picnic areas. You can also drive to the nearby beach town of O Grove, which has a bustling waterfront area and, from what we have been told, some fabulous beaches.
We really enjoyed our visit to this region and wish we had have had a little more time here to explore!