92, Reviewed by Michael Rockich, AppellationsTen
The 2019 Abadia de San Campio Albariño Terras Gauda displays richness, copious fruit, and concentration. This wine as well as the 2019 vintage unquestionably lie towards the luscious, fruity end of the spectrum. But Albariño it is for sure. And Bodegas Terras Gauda’s 2019 Abadia de San Campio from DO Rías Baixas, O Rosal is not to be missed!
For most of us Albariño burst onto the scene in the 1990s. However, it was cultivated in Rías Baixas for a very long time. One prevalent theory is that the Albariño grape was introduced there in the 12th century by Cistercian monks from the Monastery of Armenteira. Winegrowing and the players changed greatly in Galicia, the southwest region of Spain, after the D.O. Rías Baixas designation was created in 1980. Big players entered and the locals had difficulty competing, or were bought out. This area is called “Green Spain”, and is known for ocean mists, moderate year-round temperatures, and an average annual rainfall that approaches thrice the national average. Some even go so far as to liken the region to coastal Ireland.
Rías Baixas means “Lower Rias” in Galician, referring to the four ocean estuaries Ría de Muros y Noia, Ría de Arousa, Ría de Pontevedra, and the Ría de Vigo. These estuaries on the southwestern coast of Galicia mix fresh and salt water which provide an environment that harbors abundant marine life.
The five distinct sub-regions of DO Rías Baixas proceeding north to south are:
Ribeira do Ulla. Located southeast of Santiago de Compostela, this area is the newest Rías Baixas sub-region. It is located inland and is composed chiefly of alluvial soil.
Val do Salnés. Val do Salnés is credited as the origin of the Albariño grape. On the Atlantic coast and surrounding the town of Cambados, it is the original sub-region having the greatest vineyard area and the most wineries. It is the coolest, wettest sub-region averaging just 55º F.
Soutomaior. Lying in the hills at the head of the Rías de Vigo, and the smallest of the sub-regions, Soutomaior was registered in 1996. Soils are light and sandy over granite.
Condado do Tea. The second largest sub-region and named after the river Tea, a tributary of the Miño. Furthest inland lying in a mountainous area, it is a warmer, drier area, with soils containing granite and slate.
O Rosal. Also lying along the Miño River where it joins the Atlantic Ocean, O Rosal marks the border with Portugal. The vineyards are terraced along the Miño on granite bedrock and alluvial topsoil.
Bodegas Terras Gauda is in the Terras Gauda Group which includes three additional wineries. Founded in 1989, this organization provides a presence in four of Spain’s main wine regions. The three additional wineries are Viñedos y Bodegas Pittacum, Quinta Sardonia, and Compañía de Vinos Heraclio Alfaro.
Bodegas Terras Gauda’s initial production was 37,000 bottles yielded from the 1990 harvest. Today production is 40 times greater exceeding 1.5 million bottles. Additionally, the Bodegas owns 160 hectares of vines, and is a member in the Quinta Sardonia Group in the Douro Valley, Portugal. There they cultivate the vines and produce upper tier red wines employing biodynamic practices.
The Rías Baixas 2019 vintage saw a warmer than average spring with significant temperature variations. Summer was dry and mild incurring just two heat spells. A moderate and partially dry September ensued. Some temperature variations and slight dehydration yielded a lower 2019 production than in prior seasons. Harvest took place the 17th and 18th of September giving ideal maturation. Emilio Canas, winemaker, finds his 2019 Abadía de San Campio to show excellent balance and complexity. I could not agree more!
Terras Gauda’s estate-grown Albariño vines are all hand-picked and trellised double cordon royat, in place of the traditional pergola system. This increases the natural concentration in the grapes. The Estate’s harvest is usually somewhat early with the objective of a higher concentration of flavor.
At harvest the grapes are transported from vineyard to winery in crates of 40 pounds maximum within a few minutes. After clusters are destemmed, the grapes undergo six hours of cold soaking followed by a low temperature alcoholic fermentation in stainless steel tanks employing the estate’s native yeasts. The resulting wine is aged sur lees in tank for three months, then cold stabilized and filtered before bottling.
This Albariño features oodles of sweet fruit, with a lavish character and viscosity. Albariño’s signature brightness is subtly present in an acidic vein running through to the finish and assisting in balance. The aromatic nuance of wax opens, followed by white flowers, spices, parchment, leather, butter, mango, and quince. Opulence arises, but the acidity doesn’t entirely consent to going there. This delightful 2019 San Campio parallels the characteristics of the vintage while demonstrating its own individual character. Not to forget, San Campio radiates very high quality and attention to detail!
100% Albariño, D.O. Rías Baixas
pH 3.42, TA 6.70 g/L
Aged sur lie in stainless steel tanks
Cases Imported, 3,000 9L cases
Imported by Trinchero Family Estates, St. Helena, California
A sample for review
(1) Image Credit, Trinchero Family Estates