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Country of Origin: Spain
Location: Cambados, Rías Baixas
People: Alba Family, Owners | Xurxo Alba, Winemaker
Viticulture: Practicing Organic
If Sally sells seashells by the sea shore, Xurxo Alba of Albamar makes Albariño al alba del mar (next to the sea). If it were up to us, we'd stop right here. There's really not much more to say. It's what Xurxo was born to do. It's what he knows best. He is the personification of Albariño.
His cellar is in Cambados, next door to his parents' restaurant and tienda de ultramarinos, a small shop selling local artisan foods. His family has been farming and making Albariño in the O Salnés sub-region of Rías Baixas for generations. It wasn't until Xurxo finished his oenology studies that the Alba family started bottling and commercializing their wines in 2006.
The Alba family owns about 2.5 hectares but also sources from about 10 hectares spread throughout the region. Their winery and land is close to the Atlantic Ocean, near the mouth of the Umia River in the heart of Galicia's Rías Baixas. Xurxo wishes they owned more, but like their land, neighboring vineyards have been passed along from generation to generation. Working the land is a way of life; it's a hobby. It's what people do with their free time. It's a lifestyle in that money can't buy.
Xurxo farms and makes sure his farmers farm as naturally as possible, as much as the region permits. Being by the sea, the threat of fungal diseases like mildew and oidium is always present. In the cellar, spontaneous fermentation with native yeast is a common denominator between all of the wines. Whether he works the lees or uses oak is on a wine by wine basis, vintage by vintage.
Bodegas Albamar Flickr
Bodegas Albamar Facebook
Spanish Wine Lover: Albamar Brings out the Freshness of Albariño
The New York Times: Your Next Lesson: Albariño