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Sal da Terra

We caught wind of a new project brewing in Rias-Baixas about a year ago from our friend and colleague Ben […]

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Sal da Terra

We caught wind of a new project brewing in Rias-Baixas about a year ago from our friend and colleague Ben Henshaw in the UK. Ben is the proprietor of Indigo Wines and has been creating his own line of custom cuvées from growers he represents from all around the world. For his project in Rias-Baixas he teamed up with Eulogio Pomares, side hustling from his day job at Zárate, Jamie Goode, wine writer, wine scientist, and wine critic, and Daniel Primack, the importer, and distributor of Zalto wine glasses in the UK. Quite the dream team of talent! We agreed to buy what we could get even before tasting it. Six months later over lunch in Madrid with José Maria Vicente, we were astounded at how satisfyingly complex and pleasurable this wine proved to be. We even helped secure José Maria an allocation!

Rather than tell you all about this wine ourselves, we leave it to Jamie Goode to describe the details:

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 Francón in Castrelo (next to the town of Cambados), which is close to the Ría 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 (Meaño). 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 Albariño before.

So grapes from Carballoso were fermented and aged in a 1200 liter chestnut barrel, while the Francón (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.

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Galicia, Spain
  • Location
    Galicia, Spain
  • Primary Appellation
    Rias-Baixas
  • Proprietor
    Eulogio Pomares, Ben Henshaw, Jamie Goode & Daniel Primack
  • Winemaker
    Eulogio Pomares
  • Size / Elevation
    1 hectares / 5-250 meters
  • Age of Vines
    30-35 years
  • Farming
    Practicing organic
  • Varieties
    Albariño
  • Cellar
    Hand harvested, destemmed, pressed, natural yeast fermentation in a 12HL chestnut barrel and a 15HL concrete tank
  • Portfolio
    Eric Solomon Selections