Sal de Terra is a new albarino that a pretty impressive team has put together with Eulogio Pomares, the winemaker from Zarate taking the lead alongside Ben Henshaw, the owner of Indigo Wines (an importer) in UK. We loved this wine when we tried it and were very impressed with the balance of richness and precision here. But for more details, we'll let Dr. Jaime Goode (another of the team members) tell you about it:
In the end, we decided on two vineyard plots for the wine, which we'd decided to call Sal da Terra (salt of the earth).
The first is Francon in Castrelo (next to the town of Cambados),
which is close to the Ria de Arousa, giving a big influence from the
Atlantic. The age of the vines is 35 years, trained in emparrado (the
local name for the Pergola system). Soils are granitic but with some red
clay, which helps retain water and give nice even ripening even when
it's hot. This plot was harvested on 15th September 2018.
The second vineyard is Carballoso in Xil (Meano). This is inland,
6 km from the Atlantic, and at an altitude of 250 m. These vines are 30
years old and are all trained in emparrado. Soils are sandy granitic. "It is a kind of granite that we call Xabre," says Pomares. The rock is
disaggregated and is a yellow color because you also find iron in the
rock. It is a poor soil, giving concentrated grapes with low yields.
This was harvested on 18th September 2018.
The vines are farmed organically with no herbicides but aren't certified.
Pomares Carrolcoba is fermented in a 1200 liter chestnut barrel.
These are interesting because they are big, affordable, and
more-or-less neutral when the staves have boiled so they can be bent. [I
can't find any references for this, but Pomares wine certainly doesn't
have any noticeable oak character.] So we wanted to do a portion of the
wine in this, but also a portion in concrete tanks. Pomares was keen on
this because he'd not used concrete for Albarino before.
So grapes from Carballoso were fermented and aged in a 1200 liter
chestnut barrel, while the Francon (Castrelo) portion was fermented and
aged in a 1500 liter concrete tank. Both lots were destemmed (not
crushed), press in a pneumatic press. After a light settling they went
to chestnut and concrete for a natural ferment.
We met together in London and had a look at the wines in April,
and did a blending exercise. In the end, we decided on using slightly
more of the Chestnut-aged wine than the concrete tank wine, although
both were lovely. It reduced the volume slightly, but that was fine. The
two wines were blended in April after harvest and bottled in August
without fining or filtration. 3360 bottles were made.