Rías Baixas is famous for its Albariño, and the Bodegas del Palacio de Fefiñanes is one of the oldest and most prestigious wineries of the Rías Baixas DO [Denominación de Orígen]. Established in 1904, today the winery is housed in the 17th century palace located on the town square in Cambados. Juan Gil de Araújo Careaga, President of the Consejo Regulador de Rías Baixas, is the owner of Fefiñanes, and famed winemaker Cristina Mantilla makes the wines at Fefiñanes in addition to several other, premiere Galician estates. In this article, we review the current releases of Fefiñanes; for our review of an earlier vintage tasted with importer Fran Kysela, see our article Bodegas del Palacio de Fefiñanes: Albariño from Rías Baixas. We will soon be publishing a full, in-depth report on Albariño and other wines of Rías Baixas with reviews of the wines of over 40 wineries. Look for it!
The three wines reviewed here show the varied expressions of Albariño in Rias Baixas. They’re all sourced from vineyards located in the Val do Salnés, the most important, traditional growing region for Albariño. The regular bottling, the first one listed below, is a pure expression of the very fresh fruit grown in this subzone, made with a short cold soak and time on the fine lees. The second bottling, the 1583, sees aging in neutral oak with more time on the lees with battonage, and is more creamy and firm as a result. The third bottling, III Año, is a selection of the best grapes with extended time on the lees and aging in tank prior to bottling, leading to greater richness and complexity.
Bodegas del Palacio de Fefiñanes 2019 Albariño de Fefiñanes Rías Baixas ($33) 92 The regular bottling of Fefiñanes Albariño reveals a tropical bouquet of peach, citrus and mango. The attack is bright and fresh with a steely, precise palate showing stony minerals married to nicely concentrated fresh fruit. A perfectly focused wine with mouthwatering acidity. The flagship wine of Fefiñanes, it was first produced in 1928. It’s sourced from 60 growers in the Cambados region. Fermented in stainless steel. Over 14 thousand cases produced.
Bodegas del Palacio de Fefiñanes 2019 1583 Albariño de Fefiñanes Rías Baixas ($48) 93 The (lightly) oak matured 1583 Albariño shows a spicy nose of jasmine, dried pineapple, and a hint of orange zest. It’s full and creamy with a firm backbone and layers of rich, spicy flavors on a focused palate, finishing very dry with a saline note. A selection of fruit in the vineyard with fermentation beginning in stainless steel and ending in French barriques where it ages on the lees with gentle battonage for 3 months before being racked back to stainless steel for further aging. Cristina Mantilla began making this wine in 1995, her first vintage at Fefiñanes.
Bodegas del Palacio de Fefiñanes 2016 Albariño De Fefiñanes III Año Rías Baixas ($71) 95 Yellow gold. The III Año reveals a vibrant bouquet of tropical fruit with hints of citrus and herbs. This is an elegant wine with rich, complex flavors and very expressive minerality. Fruit and acidity work in tandem in a wine of impeccable balance. One of the very best wines tasted for this report. This 100% Albariño is a selection of the best fruit and the best tank. Aged for 7 months on the lees in steel tanks and another 23 months in tank before bottling in February 2020.