Blending Sal da Terra 2020

So it’s time to blend the 2020 vintage of Sal da Terra Albariño, made by Eulogio Pomares from two vineyard sites in Salnes, Rias Baixas.

The two vineyards are both vinified separately. One lot is in concrete tank, and the other is in large chestnut barrels. So there’s a combination of different sites plus different elevage here. The Carballoso portion (from Xil, inland) is fermented and aged in a 1200 litre chestnut barrel, while the Francón (Castrelo, near Cambados, next to the water) portion is fermented and aged in a 1500 litre concrete tank.

2020 was a small vintage so there is a bit less quantity than 2019, when we had two barrels plus the concrete tank. So in 2020 it’s back to the 2018 situation with 1500 litres in concrete, and 1200 litres in chestnut. Both are lovely wines, and quite different.

Concrete: nice aromatics with some baked apple hints sitting under vibrant lemon, with some dried lemon peel and a touch of oyster shell. Lovely volume and brightness in the mouth – it’s overtly fruity, with orange and some apricot, together with some crisp lemony acidity and also some saline notes. Really vibrant and intense.

Chestnut: taut and quite restrained on the nose with a slight waxy edge to the citrus fruit. This is taut, concentrated and linear with a slight spicy edge to the citrus, pear and apricot fruit. Has a steely core, and a salty quality, too. Shows concentration and restraint.

The blend:

First attempt is the blend that makes the most wine, with a 5:4 ratio

Lovely aromatics: some ripe apricot over a core of crystalline lemony notes. The palate has ripe fruit offering immediate pleasure – pear, lemons and apricot – but also has some salinity, with a nervy lemony acid line and some mineral notes. It’s a lovely, complete expression of Albariño.

A 50/50 blend is a little bit steelier, with a more pronounced mineral/salty line. It’s equally good as a blend – and quite different. But the first blend is so good, there’s no reason not to use all the wine in the blend.