Rías Baixas

Appears in

Oxford Companion to Wine

Oxford Companion to Wine

By Jancis Robinson

Published 2006

  • About

Rías Baixas, the leading do wine zone in galicia, north west Spain (see map under spain), producing some of the country’s most sought-after dry white wines. Between 1987 and 2012 the DO’s vineyard area grew from 237 ha/570 acres to 4,050 ha/9,700 acres with the number of wineries rising from 14 to 177. Named after the flooded coastal valleys, or rías, that penetrate up to 30 km/19 miles inland, the zone’s reputation is based on the white albariño grape. Wines were exported to northern Europe in the 16th and 17th centuries but, after the ravages of phylloxera, many of the traditional vine varieties were abandoned, and by the 1900s the region’s vineyards were largely planted with high-yielding hybrids and by Jerez’s palomino, producing poor-quality wine. The revival began in the late 1970s, when growers were encouraged to replant native vine varieties and producers were given incentives to invest in modern winemaking equipment. The metamorphosis gathered pace with the application of eu funds following Spain’s accession to the EU in 1986.