DO Ribeiro

Ribeiro DO (Denominación de Origen) is a wine region within the Galiciaautonomous region of Spain. It is located between the famous Rias Baixasto the west and Ribeira Sacra to the east. The Ribeiro DO title was official established in 1957, and is governed by the local Consejo Regulador(wine-regulating authority).

Winemaking has long been important to Ribeiro – the Romans introduced the tradition in ancient times and Cistercian monks acted as custodians throughout the Middle Ages. Since early times, wine has been the region’s primary source of income and employment. Four rivers – the Barbatino, Avia, Arnoia and Miño – converge here, and vineyards line the river valley floors and terraces cling to the steep hillsides.

The maritime influence of the Atlantic Ocean is evident in Ribeiro, with relatively high rainfall and humidity, although its inland location shelters it from the brunt of Atlantic storms. It is also warmer than its western neighbor and receives half its average annual rainfall, which is still significant at 37in (950mm). Average annual sunshine of more than 1900 hours is vital to ensure that the grapes achieve enough must weight to reach alcohol levels of up to 13%.

Ripeness, however, does not constrain the acidity levels in Ribeiro’s white wines, which are naturally high and aggressive. In fact, their crisp tartness, along with freshness and fruit characters, make these wines highly individual in character. Slightly older wines also develop a slight sparkle, like the Vinho Verde of Portugal.

The principal grape varieties are Treixadura, Torrontes, Godello, Loureiroand Albarino. White wines account for around 85 percent of all wines produced in the DO and pair wonderfully with seafood from the Galician region.

Although Ribeiro’s red wines have yet to achieve the commercial success of their white counterparts, there are some producers who have successfully experimented with Caino, Mencia and Brancellao and Tempranillo grapes. These wines also exhibit crisp acidity along with a strong tannin structure and tend to be medium- to full-bodied.

Ribeiro also produces some sweet tostado wines, meaning ‘toasted’. They are made from dried grapes, which works to intensify flavors and sugars, creating rich wines with honey, raisin and toasty notes.

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