Galicia DOs (Part II)
The white wines from Galicia are famous around the world. They're best served cold and accompanying some kind of fish or seafood, although they also work well with appetizers. The wines from Galicia tend to be very refreshing and they're a perfect drink for the hot night of the summer.
Galicia is one of the richest agricultural regions in Spain as it benefits from excellent soil and a lot of rain. This means that they produce all manner of things from the ingredients that can be grown in the region's soil. You will surely see this if you ever visit a Spanish restaurant in this Spanish region, as some of the typical dishes tend to be made from a large selection of vegetables. However, grapes are also an important part of this region's agricultural industry.
Of course, there are a number of varieties of grapes that actually originate from Galicia, although today most of the wines are produced from a mixture of native and non-native varieties. The people of Galicia also use their grapes to produce a liquor called licor de orujo - something else which you must try when you visit Spain.
DO Rias Baixas
DO Rias Baixas is the most known designation of origin in Galician wines. They're specialized in white wines produced with the Albariño grape variety, and in late years they've gained worldly fame. You can learn more about DO Rias Baixas!
In the western part of the Ourense province lies the DO Ribeiro, which, established in 1976, is the oldest designation of origin in Galicia. The first traces of wine making in this area come from the Romans from the 2nd century b.C., but the Cistercian monks of the Clodio monastery were the ones that gave fame to the area and established what would centuries later be DO Ribeiro. These wines from Galicia were exported by the Jewish merchants who came along the Santiago Way. This pilgrimage road has always played an important role in the Spanish culture, and it's such an important part of the history of Spain that it's normally packed with people. If you travel along it for a while you'll meet so many people you'll learn Spanish from hearing it so much!
Galicia was one of the least affected regions by the Muslim invasion and the wine sector continued without pause, reaching its golden age during the 15th and 16th centuries. During this period, activities related to the wine sector were carried out to extremely high standards and had considerable status, and these wines from Galicia were exported everywhere and used for trade with the Americas. As with the rest of Galicia, the region suffered during the 19th century due to the multiple plagues and the economic crisis, and the wine sector wouldn't be restored until Spain joined the EU in 1986.
The climate is damp with mild temperatures, and the southern placing of the vines protect them from the sub-Atlantic storms. Summers are very hot but the Oceanic climate influence helps with keeping the humidity of the grapes. The allowed varieties are Treixadura, Torrontés, Palomino, Godello, Macabeo, Loureiro, and Albariño in whites and Caíño, Alicante, Sousón, Ferrón, Mencía, Tempranillo, and Brancellao in reds, with whites taking an 85% of the plantation. The alcohol content in these wines from Galicia is as follows:
- White: Alcohol content between 9% and 13%
- Red: Alcohol content between 9% and 12%
- Toasted wines: Produced with the must of the best grapes, previously dried under cover. Minimum alcohol content of 13%.
DO Valdeorras is located in the northeast of the Ourense province, in the valley formed by the rivers Sil and Jares. This DO was established in 1977 and its history can be followed back to the Romans. The DO Valdeorras wine region enjoys a slightly less humid climate than the rest of Galicia, and it's more influenced by the Atlantic, with longer insolation.
Vineyards are planted at approximately 1600 feet of altitude and the grape varieties allowed by these wines from Galicia mostly reds like Mencía, Merenzao, Brancellao, Tintilla or Garnacha Tintorera. The white varieties are Godello, Dona Branca and Palomino Fino. The alcohol content for all of the wines from Galicia under the DO Valdeorras is 9%.