Tim's Wine Tour Blog

Ribeiro and Ribeira Sacra

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We set off on Friday for the second leg of our Galician wine adventure as we waved goodbye to Cambados and headed inland towards Monforte de Lemos. On the way we took in two wineries: Casal de Armán in the Ribeiro region near Ourense and Regina Viarum in the Ribeira Sacra region just outside of Monforte.

A reasonably leisurely 90 minute drive and we arrived at the wonderful situated Casal de Armán bodega. Stunning views over the vineyards were in abundance as we were welcomed by Roger Matthews – who we had previously met in Valduero on our Ribera del Duero tour in 2012. Roger immediately set about giving us some terrific information about the history of the area and the reclaiming of many old historic vineyards and how the region is one of the most dynamic in the whole of Spain right now.

We then moved into the winery and picked up some fascinating snippets about their experimental cask ageing for whites and how they are burying amphora into crates of local soil. The fun of checking out some more stainless steel tanks in a winery is you never know what you might find next to them!

Into the tasting room and four top class wines.

Treixadura is the key grape here and we experienced a seriously high quality range. The Casal de Armán 2018 was fresh, lively with mandarin and citrus notes – very much am aperitif or all day wine. The Finca Misenhora 2016 and Finca Os Loureiros wines were more serious, more gastronomic wines and the Armán tinto was bright fresh and very drinkable.

Beautiful location, very stylish winery and great to catch up with Roger again.

From Armán it was just an hour to the Regina Viarum winery. This estate has benefitted from some serious investment and has a simply stunning view over the river Sil which shows off the death defyingly steep slopes and terraced vineyards. Mencía is the key red grape of the region and we wait keenly to contrast it with the Mencía we will taste on Saturday.  Viarum also grow Albariño, Godello and Tempranillo and we tasted all of them!

Prior to the visit we took lunch inside the farmhouse – local Galician meat and fish pies, scallops in spicy sauce, cheeses, beef cheeks and pancakes – served separately of course.

After a canter through the winery, a sitting through of the video showing the heroic efforts of the grape pickers on the steep slopes and a final tasting of three more wines, we headed to Monforte de Lemos to settle into our hotel.

A busy and fascinating day.