Lagar de Costa is a family run winery, growing mostly Albariño grapes. Three generations of vintners have cultivated the wines – today is is run by Sonia (the winemaker) and her brother. You cannot copy the terroir in Rias Baixas, and you certainly cannot copy the marine influence on these grapes at Lagar de Costa. We strolled through the vineyards, sand and granite beneath our feet. As you approach the end of one row you either turn down another row of vines or continue straight ahead, steps from the water. This land and earth make their way into the final product in a unique way.
First taste: Espadeiro variety. Low alcohol (about 12 percent) with high acidity. This is a wine best enjoyed in its youth. There’s a distinct hint of Eucalyptus in these wines which is no surprise with Eucalyptus trees lining the property. It’s usually blended to produce rosé wines so it was fun trying a wine made of 100% Espadeiro. I had never tasted this grape before.
As we sipped, I ask Sonia what she loves the most about her career.
“The harvest is my favorite part of my job. Every year is different and stressful. Every year we have to make a decision knowing that it will change the quality of the wine. There’s never a ‘happy’ harvest. There’s always challenge and problems to be dealt with. It’s a very special time.”
She thinks her English is horrible, little does she know I understand every word! I ask her what is most important to her. Her 3 year old daughter, Nora hops, skips and jumps into the room straight for her mother. Once she reaches her mother it’s clear she wanted to sit in her mother’s lap in order to reach for the glass of wine she assumed was waiting for her. Nora le gusta vino.
“We are a small family and we’re working in the winery and in the vines. For us it’s important you know who is behind the wine. ”
Second tasting: Godello. Imagine the neutrality of chardonnay mixed with the floral and textured notes of Chenin Blanc. Good acidity, not quite like Albariño but still racy and bright.
Third tasting: Albariño and Treixadura
Albariño is a small grape that produces tiny bunches. Because of this, the grapes are always very close to each other and the hot weather has the bunches prone to botrytis. This is part of the reason why the vines probably look different to someone who has only seen vines say throughout Napa Valley. Albariño is more productive in a pergola training system. This means the vine is trained to grow high and outwards like an umbrella increasing airflow and sun exposure.
This wine has a salty, saline characteristic which is typical of Albariño from this area (being neighbors with the ocean). Sonia even said Albariño, for her, has balsamic notes!
She says, “For me, Albariño is similar to Chablis.”
Salud! – Arden