Our second Galicia tour has kicked off and once again we were ahead of schedule as flights into Porto and empty roads conspired to make an easy journey into Cambados. The weather was glorious and we basked in some early evening sunshine with a glass of fizz in the Parador cloistered garden. It was then a leisurely walk to the acclaimed, Michelin starred Yayo Deporta restaurant where we enjoyed a superb six course dinner that was diverse, complex and utterly delicious.
Thursday 23rd May
Our first stop on Thursday was just a mere 650 metres away from the Parador so we all benefitted from a leisurely breakfast and then discovered the weather had decided to be somewhat inclement – and yet, as we scrabbled around for umbrellas and kagouls, the sun emerged and we begun a sunny walk to Palacio de Fefiñanes. The owner of the estate, Juan Gil de Araujo is also the President of the DO Rías Baixas and is the current family incumbent running this historic property where wine making dates back to 1927 and the amazing building back to 1583.
The vineyards that surround the property are trained in the traditional, high trellis method that allows you to walk literally under the vines, but more importantly allow the Atlantic breezes to maintain hygiene in the high rainfall conditions that the area endures. We discovered some incredible vines that were almost 200 years old as well as the mildew infested bush that acts as an early warning sign for potential pests and diseases.
After a quick breeze through the winery we tasted five very contrasting wines that showed the quality of Albariño, its affinity with oak and great ageing potential. We finished with a stunning magnum of 2007 that oily and full of minerality and with much vibrancy and depth.
From Fefiñanes, it was just a twenty minute drive to Pazo de Señorans – one of the most highly regarded estates in the region. The Pazo is a gloriously restored Galician manor House which now hosts weddings and other big events and is one of the most elegant locations that we have ever tasted wine. Having admired the Orujo distillery, gorgeous rooms, chapel, vineyards and gardens we tasted the current range. Señorans focus on lees ageing to add complexity to their wine and don’t use oak at all. The 100% Albariño wines are elegant, really well balanced and again show great potential to age.
Friday 24th May
It was a leisurely start as we said goodbye to Cambados and headed inland towards Monforte de Lemos. Before arriving there, we dropped into Casal de Armán – a small estate in the Ribeiro region of Galicia. Benefitting from stunning views over vineyards and small towns and villages we got a stunning perspective of the terroir. Sergio, one of seven siblings in the family, took us round the vineyards and winery and gave some fascinating insights into their approach. Treixadura is the main grape in the region and is relatively unknown yet produces some deliciously aromatic styles, as well as showing an affinity with lees and barrel ageing. Having tasted through four wines we sat down to a rather delicious lunch – seafood salad, slow cooked beef and a melting brownie with apple ice cream. More, wine orujo and coffee and it was time for a nap for our journey to the hotel in Monforte.