Day 4 Galicia: Salnès Rias Baixas
There are 5 zones in the Rias Baixas wine region and Salnès is considered the birthplace of Albariño. Today we transfer from one parador hotel to the delightful Parador of Pontevedra dating to the 16th century,our home for the next 2 days.
Pontevedra is a charming medieval town with twisting alleyways straight out of a storybook, a delightful walking town.
But first a winery visit to Bodegas Forjas de Salnès, located in a warehouse district and reminiscent of a ‘garagiste.’ Indeed owner Rodrigo Mendes’ grandfather started making wine in his basement, then moved to a garage and Rodrigo took over in 2005. In 2012 he moved to the current location. Altogether production is 60/70,000 bottles, mostly from bought grapes.
Forjas means ironwork and Rodrigo’s grandfather made many of the steel frameworks used in the
mussel and oyster beds near O Grove. More on that later.
Forjas makes 3/4 different Albariños, some in stainless, others in large oak barrels. They also make 4 reds from Espadeiro, Caiño and Loureiro.
We tasted 11 wines, all from tanks: a 2018 Albariño made with Raul Perez under the brand name Atalier; Albariño 2018, a blend with Leirano; Finca 2018, a blend of different vineyard plots; Single Vineyard Areas de
Arra, Leirana grown in beach sand near the ocean; Finca Genoveva 2018, a wonderful wine from granite soil; Finca No Name 2018, sold as Sketch in the US, exhibits saltiness from its proximity to the ocean; ‘Cos Pes’ (Gallego for made by foot), an orange wine with 30 days maceration with the skins.
For reds, we tried Caiño 2017, spicy, black pepper, delicious taste and a spectacular nose, 1 year in barrel, a basel, eucalyptus aroma; Loureiro 2017, deep red color, jammy fruit, 1 year in large oak barrels; Espadeiro 2017, redolent of eucalyptus, clove, cinnamon; Blend 2017, a blend of up to 10 varieties, mostly Caiño.
From Forjas we went to lunch at the 1 Michelin starred Yayo Daporta where we had the highlight meal of the tour: 5 courses paired perfectly with wine. Here’s our Menu:
Mousse of Cod and black garlic with crunchy rice and cuttlefish ink
Marinated Mussels with Sea Noodles
Beef Tripe with pilpil cod sauce
Grilled Hake with Tender Peas Sauce and Chicken Broth
Roasted Goat with Hummas and Roast Gravy
Imperial Chocolate Cake with milked Coffee Ice Cream, crunchy cocoa and citronella foam
A Capitana 2017 Rias Biaxas Cambados
Seixido de Evarieto 2015 Rias Baixas Cambados
Cíes Tinto 2016 Rias Baixas Cambados
Then we went to our boat in the harbor where we visited the astounding mussel and oyster beds. These floating rigs- there are over 3,000- hold up the mussel and oyster grates and ropes on which the
crustaceans are cultivated. Some of us fed seagulls who snatched mussels from our outstretched hands. We also consumed countless dozens of fresh mussels washed down with white wine.
The only downside was the weather: intermittent drizzle and slashing rain. But as the Irish gentleman standing next to me in the parador lobby quipped: rain is Irish sunshine.