Region: Rias Baixas, Spain
Soils: Sandy schist soil
Vinification: 500-to-700-liter French oak barrels
Aging: 9-11 months in barrels before bottling
Notes from the Importer: A Capela de Aios is named after the tiny capela (church) in the small hamlet of Aios, located outside the Ría de Pontevedra. The vineyards sit on a mound of schist, a unique rock formation in a largely granite land, which Manuel says makes up 99.9% of all the vineyard area within the Val do Salnés. He’s drawn to the expression of wines from this hill, not only because they are rare, but because they bring a very different shape and dimension to Albariño than those grown on granite soils. This wine attacks and finishes like classic schist wines: a strongly mineral and metallic pressure directly on the back and side palate, almost skipping the front entirely by comparison. (Granite wines tend to be the opposite with more of a frontal attack and finish on the palate.) There it rests on the palate with dense salty characteristics and an electric feeling while remaining tight, dry and focused. Not surprisingly it has a strong relation in taste and feel to a Chenin Blanc grown on the schist soils of the Anjou—particularly a dry Chenin from the Côteaux du Layon. It’s fermentated with natural yeasts and aged in 500-700-liter neutral French oak barrels for nine to eleven months, depending on the vintage.