The lush green hillsides of the Rías Baixas region in Galicia, at Spain’s north-western tip, are the original home of the albariño grape, and the Tourino family has been cultivating this variety since the early days. They are now respected as masters of this popular grape both within their region and internationally.
It was the grandparents of current generation, Jose Tourino, that first planted vines here in the early 20th century, meaning some of the albariño vines are up to 100 years old. Jose launched Adegas d’Altamira in 2002, and in 2004 he and his son built a new state-of-the-art winery and tasting facility.
‘Altamira’ is Spanish for ‘high views’ – an apt name, given that the winery is 200m above sea level. Thanks to its proximity to the Atlantic, it is noticeably cooler here than in other Spanish winegrowing regions, and rainfall is relatively high. Albariño fares particularly well in this moist, coastal climate, and its thick skin both protects it from intemperate weather and enhances its mineral character.
The family has around four hectares of vineyards, which it splits into small parcels to achieve more defined character in its wines. Grapes are picked and sorted manually, and are then placed in the innovative Ganimedes fermenter to undergo maceration, a modern method which enhances the grapes’ delicate natural fragrance and reduces the need for added sulphites.
The grapes are pressed gently to further retain their aromas. The winery team at Altamira knows that albariño is at its best when unoaked and – unlike many producers in the area – the team also chooses not to use malolactic fermentation, so the albariño produced here is fresh, fruity, and elegant, with a smooth, round texture.
Although relatively young, the winery has already won a large number of international awards, and Brandal Albariño has become a go-to example of this grape for Society members.