2020 Benito Santos Saiar Albarino
Benito Santos is a central figure in the modern history of Albariño and the Rías Baixas D.O. He began working in his grandfather’s vineyards in the 1930s and made wine for serving in his bar – wines that repeatedly won prizes in the annual Fiesta de Albariño in Cambados. He was instrumental in the creation of the Rías Baixas D.O. in the 1980s. The current owners now farm three vineyards in the Val do Salnés subzone of Rías Baixas, each of which is next to and named after an ancient church: Saiar, Bemil, and Xoan. All of the vineyards are now certified organic – a rarity in rainy, mildew-prone Rías Baixas – and winemaking uses only native yeasts and minimal sulfur. Benito Santos wines are salty, mineral, and structured, with ample fruit but none of the overly tropical flavors of many industrially-produced Albariños.
Benito was essentially the "Grandfather" of modern day Rias Baixes, and if you enjoy Albarino at all - it's in no small part due to his life's work.
Like all of the Benito Santos vineyards, Saiar is certified organic (a rarity in rainy, mildew-prone Rías Baixas). The vines themselves are on average about 25 years old. Soils here are a mixture of granite and sand. Winemaking wise, the fruit is hand harvested and placed into perforated boxes, allowing a free flow of air until the fruit is pressed. Fermentation occurs in stainless steel that begins spontaneously, utilizing native yeasts. After ferment, the wine's allowed to settle down in tank while on its lees for about 3 months.
Vinous Media 91
“Limpid gold. Vibrant, mineral-accented orchard and citrus fruit and floral qualities on the incisive, mineral-accented nose. Taut and sharply focused, offering zesty lemon pith, pear skin and bitter quinine flavors that deepen through the midpalate. Shows impressive definition and solid mineral thrust on the long, nervy finish, which leaves a spicy ginger note behind.” ~ JR
Spain, Rias Baixas
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