Leirana Albariño$32 and under
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Pale, green-tinged yellow. Bright and sharply focused on the nose, displaying incisive Meyer lemon, honeysuckle, quinine and mineral scents, along with a hint of ginger in the background. Dry, taut and light on its feet, offering intense, mineral-laced citrus and orchard fruit flavors that show no excess weight. Closes on a spicy note, displaying strong, floral-tinged persistence. -- Josh Raynolds.
Rodrigo Mendez is a 5th generation winemaker from the tiny fishing village of Meaño in Val do Salnes, the most coastal of the subzones of DO Rias Baixas. Descended from the founding head of the DO of Rias Baixas, he is an astute historian of the history and heritage of this place, and makes wines to express and preserve this history and unique maritime terroir. He sources the parcels he farms through generational familial relationships, from families for whom winemaking is no longer their way of life. Indeed, his preservation of these historic vineyards is a vocation as much as it is a passion project – he feels compelled and bound to farm these parcels, because otherwise they would no longer exist. He makes wine in a way that harkens back to lost methods – painstaking work that eschews the tutti-frutti style that’s become the mainstream. Rather than allowing the wine to go through malolactic fermentation, Rodri lets his fruit hang longer than his neighbors in the appellation, allowing the natural weight and viscosity of the wine balance the searing acidity that this maritime zone produces. This approach is risky and requires expertise few can match, but the end result is a wine with weight that reflects the sea and the wind – unmistakably Salnes.click here for more information.