Spain | Galicia & Atlantic Coast
This region of Spain, exposed to the northern Atlantic, can be cold, wet, and green and is often referred to as 'España Verde' or ‘Green Spain’. The wine region stretches from Galicia on Spain’s northwest coast to a portion of northern Spain that includes the Txakoli DOs of the Basque Country. The regions of Ribeiro (DO), Ribeira Sacra (DO), and Valdeorras (DO) enjoy pockets of protection from the cool, sometimes cold, and often wet coastal influences.
Green Spain’s cool and misty climate dictates that wine producers focus on earlier-ripening grapes, especially white varieties. It is the aromatic grape varieties that prosper, with Albariño one of the most successful in international markets. Grown along the coast, or along the rivers that give Rias Baixas (‘lower fjords’) its name, Albariño is the dominant white grape variety producing styles that can vary from crisp and tangy to round and peachy.
As you move inland there are other white grape varieties that fill the vineyards; the rich and complex Godello grape rules in Valdeorras (the “valley of gold”, reflecting Rome’s interest in the place 2000 years ago). Godello, Treixadura and other varieties are grown in the regions of Monterrei and the picturesque DOs of Ribeiro and Ribeira Sacra.
Away from the coast temperatures rise and so red grape varieties are planted; the Mencia grape is arguably northwest Spain’s best red variety producing lip-smacking wines packed with raspberry tones and floral aromas.
Green Spain’s vineyards extend all the way to Basque Country, often backing into the Pyrenees or the Sierra Cantábrica, sheltering more famous wine regions such as Rioja.