Albariño Leirana 2022, Forjas del Sálnes

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Tasting notes
Typically, mass-produced, commercial Albariño is inoculated with non-native yeasts, which is what gives those wines their characteristic tropical fruit aromas. But that’s not how the grape presents naturally. Forjas del Salnés uses only native yeasts when making this wine, allowing its true nature to come through.

With a pale, green-tinged yellow color in the glass, this wine is bright and sharply focused on the nose. It explodes with ripe Meyer lemon, honeysuckle, and a touch of fragrant herbs that we couldn’t quite place. There’s even a hint of ginger in the background. Although the wine is dry, taut, and light on its feet, there is a voluptuousness to its texture, offering intense, mineral-laced citrus and orchard fruit flavors, all without excess weight. The palate closes on a spicy note, displaying strong, floral-tinged persistence.

This wine is ready to drink now, but will also hold up for another few years, so feel free to hang onto it for the perfect occasion!

Pairing Ideas
Shellfish (oysters especially!), grilled white fish, or a mixed chicory salad with a citrus vinaigrette.

Granitic and sandy soil. A blend of different parcels, all located in the Salnés Valley; one located close to the sea, another one a bit more inland, and a third one on the hills.

Vine age
Between 30 to 90 years old

Harvested by hand | Each parcel is vinified separately | The grapes are destemmed and pressed directly with 20% of the juice stored in neutral oak barrels and 80% in stainless steel tanks | Natural fermentation lasts for 20 days

About the Winery

In the 1970s, most vintners in Rías Baixas were pulling up their old red grapevines to make way for the more productive, more en vogue, Albariño. Thankfully, the Méndez family was doing the exact opposite, planting more traditional vines, such as Caiño, Espadiero and Loureiro Tinto, in a successful attempt to preserve and revive this central element of Galician heritage.

This mission of preservation was kick-started in earnest during the early years of the 21st Century when Rodrigo Méndez and respected winemaker Raúl Pérez joined forces to produce some of the most astonishing Albariño available. Using traditional methods learnt over generations, Forjas del Salnés was born in a garage winery in 2005. Here they work the fruits from just 7.5 hectares of vines, grown in the villages of Meaño, Sanxenxo, and Barro.

Words cannot adequately describe the wines from Forjas del Salnés. To taste them is to taste true examples of Galician history, with the slight bite of Atlantic salinity reminding you of the coastlands from which they originate. The vines are grown in the cool climate of the Salnés Valley, just a short distance from the Atlantic coast. It is one of the wettest parts of Spain, with a median rainfall of around 63 inches. The rain can cause significant variances between vintages, influencing the sugar levels in the grapes. The vines are forced to work hard; the soil is poor, with a thin layer of humus spreading over granitic sands resting on granite bedrock, and water drains away quickly. This has an added bonus for the vines, as phylloxera, the vine blight responsible for devastating harvests over the centuries, is unable to grow here, allowing vineyards to reach several hundred years of age.

Rodrigo’s history in the area has been vital to the success of Forjas del Salnés. He was able to find and secure the use of ancient plantations, some of which were long-abandoned, and bring them back to life.

The philosophy of the project is to respect the authenticity of the region’s traditional varieties. ; to nurture small plots resulting in wines that are a true reflection of the land, a testament to the age-old processes of natural winemaking and respect for the environment.