Tuesday, October 31, 2023

Grape Spotlight: Rías Baixas, Val Do Salnés, Attis Bodega y Viñedos Souson

Did you know that red wine is being produced in Rías Baixas?

Val Do Salnés is the oldest of the five sub-regions in Rías Baixas and contains 64% of the region's vineyards. It features the most coastline with the Atlantic Ocean and is thus the coolest and dampest of the sub-regions with an average temperature of 59 degrees F.  The soils here are granite-based and quite rocky. These factors give the wines of  Val do Salnés abundant acidity and noticeable salinity. Like all of the sub-regions in Rías Baixas (See The Rías Baixas Roadshow 2023 - Part 1), the vast majority of the wines here are Albariño but Rías Baixas Tinto is a permitted class of wine that accounts for 1% of all production.  

One of these red grapes is Souson, which is synonymous to Vinhao (or Sousao) from just below the border in Portugal's Minho region and composing red Vinho Verde wines.  This is a dark-skinned grape variety indigenous to the western Iberian Peninsula. "It is used to make relatively light red-wine styles which are nonetheless deeply colored thanks to the grape skin's strong pigmentation. Its budding season is mid-late and its maturation cycle is long, so its location predominates in areas that are favorable for early ripening. It has high sensitivity to powdery mildew, medium to mildew and low to Botrytis". (wine-searcher)

Attis Bodega y Viñedos is situating in the center of Val do Salnés. Although dominate in Albariño, the winery also produces a Souson. All the vines grow on traditional pergolas and thus the grapes are somewhat protected from the humidity and moisture. The grapes must be tediously hand harvested and then are naturally fermented in open 500 liter barrels. The wine is then aged 12 months in new French oak barrels and fined with eggs and sea water. 

During The Rías Baixas Roadshow 2023 - Part 1, I sampled the Attis Souson 2016 ($40), where the intense color matches the fruit forward character. There's lively acidity and noticeable saline that extends long into each sip. 

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