Galicia is one of my favorite places on the planet. The beaches, the green hillsides, the mountains, the rivers, the pulpo(!) and, above all, the wine all come together to create one of the most beautiful experiences you can find in Spain. Right in the middle of Galicia, a stones throw from Portugal, where four different rivers meet, lies the region of Ribeiro. In this relatively small wine region sits a tiny plot of the only biodynamically farmed vineyards in the Ribeiro and the wines of Fazenda Augalevada.
My visit to Fazenda Augalevada fell on my last day in Galicia, on one of my last days in Spain and on the day I officially gave up American football for soccer (sorry, Raiders). A mutual friend had told winemaker, Iago Garrido, I was fluent in Spanish, so in addition to my own visit, I was handed the task of translating Spanish to English for a group of Japanese importers. I’m not sure how effective I was in real life, but on the inside I felt like a straight boss.
Winemaker, Iago Garrido is kind of a badass. He almost played soccer professionally, and while waiting for FC Barcelona to call he went to Culinary School, taught special needs kids the art of gardening and learned how to grow and make wine biodynamically. He also managed to have two super cute little kids with his amazing wife. And maybe he never got the call from Barcelona, but he is the first certified biodynamic winemaker in Ribeiro, his wines are straight up delicious and he doesn’t have to share a spotlight with Leo Messi.
Iago farms 2 and a half hectares of land near San Clodio, a small town about 37 kilometers outside of Ourense. The terraced hills outside of his house were once planted with Treixadura, Albariño and Godello, but in an effort to plant varietals he feels better suited to the area, Iago decided to rip out his Albariño and Godello vines and replant with varietals like Caiño Longo, Caiño da Terra, Caiño Blanco and Agodelo. His older wines are made solely from his vineyards, but while he waits for the newly planted vines to grow up and produce fruit, he uses locally sourced grapes to make his wines. Sourced or homegrown, the wines are aged underground in clay amphorae- a super ancient method that is still used by wine makers all over the world. Amphorae increases oxygen exposure in wines while they age, softening tannins and enhancing aromas like nuts and baking spices.
This very minute the wines are on a boat headed to Oakland, and as soon as they land I’ll let you know where to get them. We tasted the 2014 “Ollos de Roque,” named after Iago’s son, made from mostly Treixadura, with a little Albariño, Loureira, Lado and Godello. This delicious white wine is made from grapes sourced straight from Iago’s vineyard, before he decided to replant. The red, dubbed “Mercenario” is a blend of Brancellao, Caiño Longo and Ferrol. Don’t know any of these grapes? Don’t know anything about soccer? Don’t worry. Let’s just sit back, drink the wines and watch some Barcelona Futbol. Vamosssssss Barçaaaaaa!
Blogged at: Commonwealth, Birba, Mom and Dad’s
Soundtrack: People Under the Stairs, O.S.T.