And the winner is...
Albariño Selección de Añada 2004, Pazo de Señoráns, DO Rías Baixas
Situated in the Val do Salnes, which is the original heartland of Rías Baixas, the winery is housed in a magnificent 19th-century manor house, surrounded by its own 10 ha of Albariño vines.
The house was bought in 1979 by Marisol Bueno, a biologist, and her husband Javier Mareque. It came with a small winery, and they set about making wine and, in the rural manner, selling it in bulk the spring after the vintage. In 1989 they decided to formalise the business, and the first vintage under the name Pazo de Señoráns was produced in 1990.
Since then, although one of the smaller producers in the region, the Pazo has gone on to great accomplishment, and Marisol herself served as the President of the Consejo Regulador. The Selección de Añada is made from grapes of older, lower-yielding vines, selected at the winery and fermented in stainless steel, after which the wine is left on its lees for 34 months before bottling – there is no malolactic fermentation, to keep the fresh acidity.
This time spent on the lees gives the wine its longevity – against the received wisdom that we should always drink the most recent vintage in Rías Baixas. As if to prove the point, this same vintage of this same wine was awarded a bronze medal in the 2010 Awards: what a difference a year in bottle makes.
Written by John Radford