When two of Spain’s greatest winemaking luminaries get together to join forces on a tiny, collaborative project, it is certainly something worthy of your attention. Such is the case with Pazo da Sinsela, where long time friends Raul Perez and Rodrigo Mendez (from Forjas del Salnes in Rias Baixas) began a new joint venture in Salnes, arguably Rias Baixas’ finest subzone, starting in 2021.
Earlier that same year, the duo were able to find a Pazo (or vineyard) of grand cru potential in Sisan, Ribadumia planted to 3 hectares of Albarino vines. They were able to sign a long-term lease on the property with a 20 year contract. The vineyard is only 10 KM from the sea, and with soils that are very silty as they are also close to the river Umia. These soils help keep freshness in the grapes, as well as impart a classic, salty minerality to the wines.
From this tiny parcel, the duo make two wines. The first, called Pazo de Sinsela, is made from a combination of plots on the property and fermented naturally in mostly used oak barrels ranging from 225 up to 500 liters. The wine matures in those barrels for 12 months before being blended into tank and then bottled. The second wine, called San Clemente, is the crown jewel of the property, and is made from the heart of the estate, a single plot of their oldest vines, grown in the traditional pergola system. It is aged in a single 1500 liter foudre, also for 12 months. Neither wine sees any malolactic fermentation. Both wines have that salty Salnes character with the San Clemente showing amazing structure and power from the old vines.
Pazo da Sinsela is another example of how this continually up-and-coming region, Riax Baixas, and it’s noble indigenous variety, Albarino, can make world-class, age-worthy white wines that can hold their own with the greatest white wines of the world!