Galicia wine

by Neil Morris

Galician wine includes wine made in the provinces of A Coruña, Ourense, Pontevedra and Lugo covering five Denominaciónes de Origen: Monterrei, Rías Baixas, Ribeira Sacra, Ribeiro and Valdeorras.

The wines of Rías Baixas, 90% of which are made from the albariño grape, have been at the forefront of a Galician wine resurgence. Unusually, the Rias Baixas region is the only exclusively white wine DO in Spain. The vineyards are on average under half an acre in size but there are more than 6,500 growers and more than half of all the wine makers are women.

The DO of Monterrei is situated in the basin of the Duoro river and produces both red and white wines of a very high standard which are noted for having a Portuguese influence whilst retaining a Galician character.

The Ribeira Sacra DO is a interesting region which is divided in to five smaller sub-regions: Amandi, Chantada, Quiroga-Bibei, Riberas de Mino and Riberas do Sil. The vineyards here were planted and maintained by the monks who inhabited the 18 monasteries that were founded in the region between the 8th and 12th centuries. Both red and white wine are produced here and the area has seen a steady increase in wine production since it was given DO status in 1997.


The Valdeorras region is the self-proclaimed 'mother of wine' and claims to capture 'a universe in a bottle'. This bravado is a typical example of the confident attitude of the Galician wine makers and also gives a glimpse of the humour and passion with which the wine is produced. Valdeorras, with its many rivers and south-facing slopes, has a high diversity of soil that combined with the climate makes ideal conditions for wine making. As a result the region produces high quality white, red and sparkling wines that cater for both local and international tastes.

Ribeiro wines are very distinctive thanks to the many native grapes used in production such as the torrontés, treixadura and llado varieties. The white wines produced here are clean, fresh and fruity and make up over 80% of production; red wine is produced from the caiño, ferrón, sousón, brancellao, mencía, garnacha and tempranillo varieties and is mainly consumed locally.


The pomace brandy liquor known as orujo is also popular in Galicia where it is more commonly known as aguardente or caña. The production is seen as a natural part of the wine making process as it uses the residue left over from conventional wine production; the residue is then fermented and distilled and is sometimes flavoured other ingredients such as herbs, fruit or honey.

Denominaciónes de Origen

rias baixas

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