José Maria Ureta
Rias Baixas, Spain
The apogee for white wines, Rias Baixas is a dramatic and historic region in Galicia in the northwest along the River Mino and the Northern border with Portugal. Rias Baixas literally means "low estuary" and the region's unique proximity to the coast and the major inlet created by the river provide a cool, sunny climate perfectly suited for white wines. Albarino is the dominant grape, producing aromatic, zesty and refreshing wines that are the quintessential match for seafood, world renowned in the region.
Rias Baixas has a strong Celtic heritage evidenced by some of the old stone fortresses that dot the majestic coastal cliffs and to this day, the local instrument remains the bagpipe. For many years the "Galegos" or local Galicians maintained their own language and like the Catalans remained somewhat separate from the rest of Spain. However, as modern roads were built and technology spread, Rias Baixas quickly became known for the caliber of their wines. The introduction of stainless-steel fermentation and modern presses allowed the locals to take the wines to new heights and gain a world-wide reputation.