Galicia, land of wines: Exploring the 5 wine designations of origin.

Turismo de Galicia, in alliance with the Associations of the Galician Wine Routes, is coordinating the Spring Open Doors in the Galician Wine Routes, an event that takes place jointly and simultaneously in the five Galician wine-growing territories, offering a wide-ranging programme of wine tourism activities.

Over five weekends between May and June, you can enjoy free guided tours of the wineries taking part in this promotion.

With this in mind, today we take a look in our blog at the 5 appellations of origin that we have in Galicia. In this post, we will discover their unique characteristics, their autochthonous grapes, the areas they cover, and their history.

Rías Baixas Designation of Origin

The Rías Baixas Designation of Origin is perhaps the best known of Galicia’s designations of origin beyond our borders. Located between the provinces of Pontevedra and A Coruña, the Rías Baixas DO is famous for its white wines made mainly from the Albariño grape. These wines are known for their freshness, acidity and floral and fruity aromas.

Areas of Rías Baixas:

  • Val do Salnés: This is the largest area and the birthplace of Albariño. The wines from this sub-area are usually very aromatic and fresh.
  • O Rosal: Located near the mouth of the Miño river, this sub-area combines Albariño with other native varieties, giving rise to more complex and structured wines.
  • Condado do Tea: Located inland, near the Miño river, this sub-area produces wines with more body and a more mineral touch.
  • Soutomaior: This small sub-zone is characterised by very fresh and fruity wines, with a marked acidity.
  • Ribeira do Ulla: This is the most recent sub-zone and is located in the area of influence of the Ulla river. Its wines are usually fresh and with a mineral touch.

Ribeiro Designation of Origin

The Ribeiro DO is located in the province of Ourense, in the valley of the river Miño. With a long winemaking tradition, Ribeiro has specialised in the production of white wines, although it also produces red and rosé wines. The main native grapes are Treixadura, Godello, Loureira and Torrontés for whites, and Sousón, Caiño Tinto and Brancellao for reds.

Ribeiro has a long winemaking history dating back to Roman times. During the Middle Ages, the monasteries promoted wine production in the area, and in the 16th century, Ribeiro wine enjoyed great prestige and was exported to several European countries.

Valdeorras Designation of Origin

Located in the province of Ourense, the Valdeorras DO is mainly known for its white wines made from the Godello grape, although it also produces quality red wines from the Mencía grape. Valdeorras wines stand out for their balance, structure and aromatic complexity, being ideal to accompany all kinds of dishes.

Main grapes of Valdeorras:

  • Godello: This autochthonous grape is the base of Valdeorras white wines. Wines made with Godello are usually aromatic, with notes of stone and citrus fruits, as well as a balanced acidity and a good structure.
  • Mencía: It is the main red grape of Valdeorras and other regions of northwest Spain. Wines made with Mencía have a fruity profile, with notes of red and black fruits, and a fresh acidity.

Monterrei Denomination of Origin

The Monterrei DO is located in the southeast of the province of Ourense, near the border with Portugal. This appellation, although smaller and less known than the others, has experienced a renaissance in recent decades thanks to the recovery of native varieties and the modernisation of its winemaking techniques.

In addition to the Mencía and Godello grapes, which we also mentioned in the Valdeorras DO, the Monterrei DO makes wines with the following grapes:

  • Dona Branca: This is a native white grape used in the production of fresh and light wines, with moderate acidity and floral and citrus aromas.
  • Merenzao: Although less known and cultivated than Mencía, the indigenous red grape Merenzao has gained popularity in recent years thanks to the growing appreciation of local varieties and the search for new wine styles. Wines made from Merenzao tend to have a delicate and elegant profile, with red fruit aromas, floral notes and balanced acidity.

Designation of Origin Ribeira Sacra

The Ribeira Sacra DO is located in the provinces of Lugo and Ourense, on the banks of the Miño and Sil rivers. This appellation is famous for its vertiginous terraced vineyards, which slope steeply down to the rivers. The main red grape of Ribeira Sacra is Mencía, although white varieties such as Godello, Albariño and Treixadura are also grown.

The red wines of Ribeira Sacra, made mainly with Mencía, are usually elegant and subtle, with a refreshing acidity and notes of red fruits and flowers.

The white wines of the area, although less known, present a great diversity, depending on the varieties used and the terroir conditions. They can range from fresh and fruity to complex and full-bodied.

As you can see, Galicia is a wine-growing region of great richness and diversity, with five designations of origin that attest to the quality of its wines. Throughout this tour of the Galician designations of origin, we have discovered the unique characteristics of each one, their indigenous grapes and their oenological achievements.
What better time to come to the next Open Days of the Wine Routes?

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