Appears in

Oxford Companion to Wine

Oxford Companion to Wine

By Jancis Robinson

Published 2006

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Ribeiro, means ‘river bank’ or ‘riverside’ in the Galician language and is the name of a red and white wine do zone in galicia, north west Spain (see map under spain). Ribeiro spans the valleys of the river Miño and its tributaries and Arnoia downstream from Orense. In the 16th and 17th centuries wines from Ribeiro were exported as far afield as Italy and England but they disappeared from international markets until recently. phylloxera put paid to the region’s prosperity at the end of the 19th century. As in rías baixas, for example, farmers, seeking a quick return to profit, replanted their holdings with the sherry grape palomino. Over recent years, growers have been encouraged to uproot this productive but unsuitable variety in favour of treixadura , torrontés, Lado, and other indigenous varieties which perform well in the damp maritime climate of north west Iberia and can be made into aromatic, crisp white wines. But it is the red wine explosion that has been notable this century, with the recovery and discovery of local Brancellao (alvarelhão), Caiño Redondo, Carabuñeira (Portugal’s Touriga Nacional), and Ferrón varieties, and the rediscovery of the better vineyards planted to the long-reviled, post-phylloxeric Garnacha Tintorera (alicante bouschet). With help from eu funds, wineries have been updated and the traditional, labour-intensive pergolas (see tendone) are being replaced by lower vine-training systems. Emilio Rojo, Manuel Formigo, Luis Anxo Rodríguez, Antonio Cajide (Sameirás), Xosé Lois Sebio (Coto de Gomariz), and Casal de Armán are the new stars.