Benito Santos is a central figure in the modern history of Albariño and the Rias Baixas DO. He began working in his grandfather’s vineyards in the 1930’s making wine for his bar. In the 1960’s he repeatedly won prizes in the Annual Fiesta de Albarino in Cambados and was instrumental in the creation of the DO in the 1980’s. The winery was built in 1979. He is buried nearby in the grounds of the Monastery of Calago in Arousa.
In his work he showed sincerity and a respect for nature (organic farming) enabling the wines to show the character of their terroir. Benito Santos believed that “wine should be made in the vineyard not in the winery.”
Current winemaker Jose Antonio Porto concurs and carries on the tradition.
The 12 hectares are situated by the sea in the Val do Salnes sub region, one of five in the Rias Baixas DO, benefiting from the mild Atlantic climate, to produce wines of freshness, structure and minerality.
The three Albariño vineyards in Val do Salnes are named after their neighbouring ancient churches and are certified organic, a rarity in this rainy, mildew prone region. Vines are trained on the traditional trellis and are picked by hand in small trays. Winemaking uses only natural yeasts and minimal sulphur.
In 1995, they leased 8 hectares in Monterrei to the east planted since Roman times. Situated on the Tamega river, a tributary of the Douro, south of Ourense. The climate is more continental here. Only 394 hectares are planted. Santos’ vineyard is in the Ladeira de Monterrei subregion, on the slopes.
Albariño Granitic Sandy clay soils and trellised vines of 30 years age. Hand-picked and matured for 6 months on its lees before bottling.
Godello From the ancient and tiny region of Monterrei to the east, planted since Roman times. The climate is warmer with more continental influences. The vineyard in on granite slate slopes. Aged 3 months on its lees.
Mencia Also from Monterrei this 100% Mencia is hand-picked from granite slate slopes. Fermented in stainless steel. To be enjoyed young for its fresh fruit and vitality.
Benito Santos wines are salty, mineral, and structured, with ample fruit and great length.
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