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Somehow, cooperatives developed a bad reputation. While it is undoubtedly true that cooperatives can make mediocre wine, it is also […]

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Somehow, cooperatives developed a bad reputation. While it is undoubtedly true that cooperatives can make mediocre wine, it is also true that proper Domaines can be guilty of the same offense. It’s not the nature of the operation that determines quality but what happens in the vineyard and cellar. Burgans is a custom cuvée made for European Cellars by Martin Codax, the largest cooperative in Rías-Baixas. Founded in 1986 by about 50 families with small plots of Albariño around the village of Cambados under the guidance of Luciano Amoedo, it has grown over the last three decades to include almost 600 families and well over 3000 small parcels of Albariño.

By volume, the vast majority of grapes grown in Rias-Baixas are made into wine at any one of several cooperatives for the simple reason that much of the land in Rias Baixas is broken up into tens of thousands of small holdings. Almost everyone you meet has a family home in the semi-suburban countryside where they grow various crops. Large contiguous estates are relatively rare by comparison, so by necessity, most growers are members of a local cooperative, or they sell their fruit to the few “larger” estates in the area. As a result, most of the Albariño consumed in the world comes from a handful of cooperatives rather than a multitude of smaller estates.

Luciano Amoedo was a ninth-generation grape grower in Rias Baixas and an early proponent of the Albariño variety when he assembled a group of neighbors in the Val do Salnes to form their own cooperative. Long before Albariño was synonymous with Rias-Baixas, Luciano dedicated himself to promoting and developing both. Now an official in the local DO, the cooperative’s day-to-day responsibilities are in Katia Alvarez’s hands. She is assisted on the technical side by Aránzazu Álvarez Zulueta, who oversees the wide range of wines and styles made at the cooperative. Aránzazu has also expanded the scope of the R&D-focused experimental winery by identifying unique sites within Salnés – these efforts led the the addition of Val de Burgans to our portfolio.

With such a vast array of tiny parcels, Martin Codax has invested in a team of viticulturists who regularly visit member’s vineyards in addition to managing their own experimental vineyards where massale selections of Albariño are studied alongside other indigenous varieties. They are engaged in education on proper farming techniques and sustainable practices. Martin Codax also hosts regular educational sessions to encourage best practices, and they pay their members based on the quality of their fruit, not the quantity. In the cellar, the wines are fermented and aged in temperature-controlled stainless steel tanks to preserve the freshness and bracing acidity typical of Albariño grown in the Val do Salnes. In addition, several experimental fermentations are conducted each vintage to understand the minor site variations, the role of natural yeasts, the length of elevage, skin contact, variations in site and village expression, and the qualities of various aging vessels. All these experiments are used to improve the quality of Burgans with the occasional new discovery of a wine such as Val de Burgans.




  • Red
  • Rose
  • White
  • Cider + Orange
  • Vegan
  • Certified Organic
  • Biodynamic
Galicia, Spain
  • Location
    Galicia, Spain
  • Primary Appellation
  • Proprietor
    Cooperative Martin Codax
  • Winemaker
    Aránzazu Álvarez Zulueta and Katia Alvarez
  • Size / Elevation
    450 hectares / 20-150 meters
  • Age of Vines
    20+ years
  • Farming
  • Varieties
  • Cellar
    Fermentation and aging in temperature-controlled stainless steel tanks
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