Research to support rare Rias Baixas variety

Rias Baixas producer Terras Gauda has embarked on a research project which may help protect the indigenous local grape variety Caiño Blanco from extinction.

Working in collaboration with the Spanish National Research Council (CSIC) and the Galician Biological Mission, the team at Terras Gauda, which is responsible for 95% of the DO’s Caiño Blanco, hopes to build a greater understanding of the characteristics this variety brings to a wine.

Terras Gauda currently has more than 20 hectares of Caiño Blanco planted, from which it began producing La Mar in 2009.

The wine includes 15% Albariño in the blend and its 2010 vintage, due for release later this year, has seen production rise from 6,700 bottles to 20,000.

Describing the 2009 wine as featuring “aromas of freshly cut grass, ripe tropical fruits like pineapple or mango and fine balsamics”, Terras Gauda has so far categorised Caiño Blanco as a low yielding, high acidity grape, capable of giving good structure and length to a wine.

This low productivity, a contributory factor to the producer’s assessment of Caiño Blanco as “difficult and expensive” to cultivate, helped bring the variety close to extinction, while the region’s Albariño gained an ever wider international following.

Terras Gauda forms part of a group which includes Pittacum, Quinta Sardonia and A Rosaleira, with exports to 49 countries and a turnover last year of €11.4 million.

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