Our third tour is under way and remarkably, we were yet again ahead of schedule as we set off from Porto airport. The weather was gorgeous and we arrived at the Parador in Cambados in plenty of time to settle in and relax. After a glass of fizz in the sunny courtyard, we headed off to the Michelin starred Yayo Deporta restaurant – a mere 650 metres from the hotel.
A superb six course extravaganza tasting menu ensued that included a mousse of black cod and garlic, a sashimi mackerel, an egg, truffle and mushroom creation, grilled hake, roast goat and a chocolate dessert to die for. All washed down with some delicious Albariño from literally round the corner and some Mencía from Ribera Sacra.
Thursday – Rías Baixas
A crystal blue sky greeted us on Thursday morning for our day of Albarino. Our first stop was the Palacio de Fefiñanes – literally 400 metres from the Parador. This historic building dates back to 1583 and the same family – the head of which is entitled to the name The Marquis de Figueroa– still owns it. It is the oldest bodega in the Rías Baixas.
Carmen took us round the high trellised vineyards – revealing some 150 year old pre-phylloxera vines – and explaining the history of the estate and various viticultural techniques.
Into the winery and we tasted through the range and this where we really got to understand the nuances and ageing ability of the Albariño grape. We finished off the tasting with a magnum of 2011 of their main wine – still showing tremendous life and vitality and great depth and richness.
From Fefiñanes, it was a short 20 minute drive to Pazo de Señorans – one of the top estates in the region. Founded only 30 years ago, this bodega has acquired a tremendous reputation and has put the Rías Baixas DO very firmly on the map.
Javier took us round and royally entertained us with lots of great information about the Manor House, the family and the distillery. We also received some fascinating insights into the terroir and the soil – although most people will remember Javier’s extraordinary leap up a wall to talk about the granite!
We tasted six different wines included the 2010, 2009, 2008 and 2007 of their extended lees aged Añada which again showed the quality and depth of the Albariño grape.
Then it was time for lunch. Wonderful starters, grilled scallops, melting beef and indulgent pudding, with of course Orujo to finish.
And yet, to my amazement, many people were off out later in the evening for more gastronomic and vinous research.