Founded in 1987, Mar de Frades has been, for the past 35 years, synonymous with the commitment to capture the essence of Rías Baixas and of its flagship grape, Albariño. Named after ‘Mar de los Frailes’, the bay where pilgrims once disembarked on their way to Santiago de Compostela, the winery is itself a project of discovery and research – a quest to produce wines that are at once sophisticated and quintessentially Atlantic. Chief Winemaker Paula Fandiño leads a team whose combined expertise and passion for Rías Baixas come through in each bottle, and has made Mar de Frades one of the world’s most renowned Galician brands.
A key part of Fandiño’s work has been the exploration of the region’s different subzones and of the character of the fruit hailing from each of them. The winery is located in Val do Salnés, in the heart of Rías Baixas and the sub-region most markedly influenced by the Atlantic. This is where, in 2004, Mar de Frades purchased Finca Valiñas, a two-hectare estate planted to old-vine Albariño. Further north, the company owns another 23 hectares in Ribeira do Ulla, a sub-region which, nestled in the Ulla valley and sheltered by mountains, has a greater continental character producing fruit with marked freshness but also more fruit-driven. But Mar de Frades also sources fruit from O Rosal, Condado do Tea – the southernmost subregions, along river Miño and the Portuguese border – and Soutomaior.
By working with a close knit network of passionate growers and investing in the purchase of three vineyards – some of which planted to historical old vines – Mar de Frades has access to some of the best Albariño grapes, bringing expressiveness and complexity to its wines. With a unique capacity to retain acidity and capture the specificity of terroir, Albariño makes wines of trademark Galician salinity, vibrant freshness and elegant aromatics. Its mineral backbone and characterful citrus and orchard fruit notes, often with a floral lining, provide structure for wines with great potential to age and evolve. They are an invitation to discover a region defined by centuries of winemaking history, where Albariño evolved in tandem with the wisdom of generations of growers.