DENOMINATIONS OF ORIGIN IN GALICIA AND EL BIERZO


INTRODUCTION

 Vine growing has a 2000-year-old tradition in Galicia. All possible types of vine can be found here, growing mainly in the valleys, following the river-courses and making the landscape tremendously attractive. Harvesting the grape begins normally in the month of August and goes on until October. It is a time of hard work, but enveloped in a festive atmosphere, when it is common to here the songs and aturuxos going from one vine to another. Gallego wines are usually young and have an alcohol content between 11 and 13 degrees. The whites are among the most prized Spanish wines worldwide, and are of extraordinary quality. 

MAP OF DENAMINATIONS OF ORIGIN IN GALICIA & EL BIERZO




RÍAS BAIXAS 
The area of production spreads over the the provinces of Pontevedra and A Coruña, which consists of five sub-zones: Val do Salnés, Ribeira do Ulla, Soutomaior, O Rosal and Condado de Tea. The most prestigious variety of vine, and the fundamental one, is Albariño, although there are other local varieties of excellent quality, such as Treixadura, Loureira, Caíño and Espadeiro. Mostly white wines are made, and most of these are Albariño (100% monovarieties). They exhibit a rich mosaic of qualities: straw yellow in colour with gold and green iridescence, intense floral and fruity bouquet, average alcohol content at 12 degrees, balanced acidity and a youth which, in this case, is a virtue. On the first Sunday in August, the Fiesta del Vino Albariño is held in Cambados (Pontevedra), one of the most-visited cooking dates in Galicia. Declared of National Tourist Interest.


O RIBEIRO 
O Ribeiro wines grow over a surface area of approximately 3,000 hectares, situated on hillsides that run down to the Rivers Miño, Avia and Arnoia, in the west of the province of Ourense. O Ribeiro wines are young, moderately acid, light and delicate, with exquisite combinations of floral and fruity aromas which are almost always surprising. When it is made with autochthonous varieties (Treixadura, Torrontés, Loureira, Albariño, Caíño, Brancellao, Sousón...) it acquires a peculiar personality that makes it incomparable. In the Ourense district of Ribadavia, the Exhibition-Fair of the Exaltation of O Ribeiro Wine has been held for a quarter of a century, and every year attracts thousands of people. Declared of National Tourist Interest.


RIBEIRA SACRA 
The production of this wine runs along the banks of the Rivers Miño and Sil, and area of remarkable landscapes, with sharp contours that area ideal for vine-growing, and also lands full of history and Romanesque buildings. five sub-regions are differentiated: Chantada, Quiroga, Ribeiras do Miño, Amandi and Ribeira do Sil-Ourense. The fundamental varieties are the splendid Mencía and the delicate Albariño and Godello. Excellent quality aromatic wines are produced, mostly red.


VALDEORRAS
The production zone of this wine lies over most of the basin of the Rivers Sil and Xares, around the towns of O Barco, A Rúa, Vilamartín, O Bolo, Carballeda de Valdeorras, Larouco, Petín and Rubiá, located in the east of the province of Ourense. The most characteristic variety of wine among the whites is the Godello, whose grape provides white wines with a fine fruity aroma, yellow colour, gold and straw, fine flavour in the mouth, with an average alcohol content of 12.5 degrees. The red wines produced from the variety Mencía have an intense purple colour and an elegant fruity bouquet, light and with a fine balance acidity/alcohol. The monovariety wines, both the white Godello and the red Mencía, are surprising for their excellent quality, full of nuances, and are among the great wines of the moment.


MONTERREI
The area of production for these wines lies in the Valley of Monterrei covering territory of the towns of Verín, Monterrei, Oímbra and Castrelo do Val, all in the south-east of the province of Ourense, on the Portuguese frontier. The vineyards spread over the hillsides and valleys, irrigated by the River Tamega and its tributaries. They occupy a surface area of 3,000 hectares, and the predominant variety is white from the Verdello, Dona Brance and verdello Louro vines; and, among the reds, Bastardo, Tinta Fina, Mencía and Arauxa. The whites of O Val de Monterrei are light, aromatic, golden or straw yellow in colour and with an average alcohol content of approximately 11 degrees. The reds are purple in colour, pleasant fruity bouquet, light, well-balanced acidity/alcohol and one degree less than the whites.


BIERZO
The production region, the Lower Bierzo, is located in the northwestern part of the León province, on the natural border to Galicia. Bierzo got its official recognition as a wine producing area in 1985, at a time when its wines tended to be made from a combination of locally-grown grapes and wines from elsewhere. Obviously, the "elsewhere" wines had to go, and when it achieved the full D.O. status in 1989, the winemakers had already discovered the virtues of modern equipment. The production area amounts to about 5,500 hectares (21 square miles) although only 3,400 ha. (13 sq. mi.) are registered under the Denomination of Origin. The vine grows on the slopes formed by the mountains, which encircle the region, with its own moderate, humid microclimate, difficult to classify. The grape variety Mencía reigns supreme here where it occupies 62% of the vineyard and is the main red grape both here and over the border in Valdeorras. Other permitted red grape is garnacha, mainly used to help colour mencía wines. In the white arena, DO Bierzo allows for use of palomino (in decline and remnant of the old heavy-cropping days), doña blanca, malvasia and, as of late, stunning local godello. But more and more producers are introducing new not-yet permitted plantings of tempranillo, cabernet sauvignon, chardonnay and gewürztraminer, which are proving to yield excellent results. Wines that use these varities do not bear for the time being, the Appellation's official seal.