The Meín vineyard, in the village of Leiro, appears in Galician history books as one of the first inhabited settlements around the San Clodio Monastery. The current winery, which has pioneered the recovery of Treixadura and other local varieties as well as the new wave of white wines from Ribeiro, is owned by a group of friends and relatives of Javier Alén, a lawyer and businessman who used to spend his childhood summers with his granparents in Leiro.
The first vineyards were planted in 1988 and the winery was established in 1993. The following year saw the launch of the first vintage, with barely 7,000 bottles. The land under vine currently occupies 17 hectares with an output of 90,000 to 110,000 bottles, depending on the characteristics of the vintage.
From the 2014 vintage, Comando G' Daniel Landi and Fernando García, the well-known team behind the recovery of Gredos’ Garnacha are consulting for Viña Meín. Both winemakers, who have reckoned their fascination with the landscape and potential of Galicia’s historic wine region, favour a Burgundy approach to terroir. Accordingly, the entry-level Viña Meín white (a €12 blend of 70-80% Treixadura with Godello, Albariño, Loureiro, Lado and Albilla, aged with its lees in stainless steel for 6 to 8 months) will become an Avia’s valley wine.
Foudres are now used for the existing barrel-fermented white —now called Eiras Altas— which has completely changed in style. It is made with a selection of their top grapes grown on sandy granite soils (locally called sábrego) in plots surrounding the winery in San Clodio. 2014 was a blend of 50% Treixadura and 50% Godello, but in the 2015 vintage Godello was replaced by Albariño and Loureira and the wine has gained freshness, tension and minerality.
The project envisages making white and red wines sourced from individual plots.. Tega do Sal (around €25 in Spain, 2,750 bottles) was the first one in the market. Grapes are sourced from two vineyards in Vilerma, one of the Avia valley’s historic wine regions. Fermented and aged in large barrels, it blends Treixadura with small percentages of Albariño and White Loureira. It appears that Albariño could play an interesting role in Ribeiro’s blends given that it shows a different profile from Rías Baixas —more gentle in terms of acidity but with good freshness.
A red wine was also released in the 2015 vintage. Tinto Atlántico (around €25 in Spain) is a blend of Brancellao and Caíño with just a bit of tannic Sousón. Following Comando G’s style, fermentation was undertaken with whole bunches and very soft extraction in plastic vats and the wine was later aged in big barrels and foudres. Looking for a fresh, Atlantic character, grapes were sourced from a east-facing vineyard on the opposite bank of the Avia river.
A major driver of wine tourism in the area, Viña Meín's small country hotel was the first to be opened at a winery in the Avia valley and is specially recommended to discover this stunning location.