Albariño Festival in Puerto Rico
31 Oct 2016
Puerto Ricans discovered a new house for Albariño.
Grand success of First Rias Baixas Fest in Puerto Rico
Author: Rosa María González Lamas/©ICEX
Near 200 consumers and wine trade members attended in San Juan the First Albariño-Rías Baixas Wine Festival of Puerto Rico, an educational initiative developed jointly by The House wine store, marketing communications company Viajes & Vinos, and the Rías Baixas DO Regulatory Council to advance wine culture in this Caribbean Island where Albariño has settled as one of the favorite white wines in the market.
In their first official visit to Puerto Rico, Ramón Huidobro, Director General, and Eva Minguez, Marketing Director for the Rías Baixas DO Regulatory Council, led two days of educational tastings at The House, where they explained the responsibilities of a regulatory council as a guarantor of quality and origin, and shared the most important historical, territorial, viticultural and winemaking aspects of this wine designation of origin from Galicia, in Northern Spain, illustrated thereafter through the wine tastings.
Huidobro explained that the main objective of a designation of origin is to generate wealth in rural communities. This is specially important in a territory as Rías Baixas where small plots are the rule, and most wines are the result of the work of many small grape growers and of females, who are closely associated to rural communities and modern winemaking in Galicia. The Council’s Director highlighted that Rías Baixas only employs indigenous grape varieties in the production of its wines, a fact that confers these a distinct singularity. This circumstance, along with its granite soil and Atlantic climate grants Albariño wines from Rías Baixas unique traits that make them excel over those produced in other world territories where Albariño is also cultivated.
More than thirty wine labels from Rías Baixas were presented during six sold-out tastings, each with an entirely different selection of wine labels, carefully chosen and assembled to provide attendees a full spectrum of wine styles, single-grape and Albariño-base blends, and terroir nuances of the different subzones where they originated. The tastings encompassed wine labels available in the market and some others previewed at the tastings, which enabled the audiences to obtain a tasteful understanding of vinification, aging with lees, the use of oak, the aging possibilities of Albariño, its food-pairing aptitude particularly with local flavors, the new fast-growing sparkling category, and the least known reds from Rías Baixas, a segment which is generating global interest and evokes the history of this wine producing region, where in the past red wines dominated.
To complement the tastings, a video presentation with special messages from top winery representatives from Rías Baixas was presented, attesting the strong bonds existing between this designation of origin and the Puerto Rican market. The Festival received ample coverage in local media, and a selected group of opinion leaders attended the tasting sessions.
The educational portion of the Festival was complemented with a month-long aggressive Albariño from Rías Baixas sales promotion at The House, which during October had many of these wines at very special prices, and also made available to its customers the remainder of the wine labels presented at the Festival, many of which are not regularly carried in this wine store’s portfolio.
In spite of its reduced dimensions, Puerto Rico currently is the 4th global market for the wines of Rías Baixas, only surpassed by the United States, Germany and the United Kingdom. Representing 5.3% of all of the wine exports from Rías Baixas, Puerto Rico’s leading position, which has been sustained for years, is remarked by the fact that Puerto Rico is the global market paying the highest value/liter relationship for Rías Baixas wines, which in 2015 represented a little over 15% of all wines from Spain sales on the Island.