One of the few wineries in Rías Baixas with historic records, Fefiñanes is a good place to explore the origins of Albariño. The winery forms part of the Fefiñanes Palace, an impressive Renaissance building located right in the centre of Cambados which was finished in 1621. The brand Albariño de Fefiñanes was registered in 1928 and the label has remained the same ever since. In 1930, it was the white wine that preceded Rioja’s Marques de Riscal at the meal served to mark the opening of the grand Compostela Hotel in Santiago.
In the 1950s the wine was sold as “the Galician Mosel”. The reason behind the slogan was that the grandfather of the current owners was a physician who used to live in Germany, where he found inspiration to replicate the Rhin bottle that makes Fefiñanes so distinctive.
The dichotomy between stainless steel and oak doesn’t make much sense in this winery where large old barrels —locally called bocoyes— have been preserved in a small museum. Fefiñanes was one of the first wineries in Galicia to age modern Albariño in oak with its 1583 wine (€21 in Spain), a date which refers to the year of birth of the first Viscount of Fefiñanes. The III Año (3rd Year, around €30), launched on the 2001 vintage, is aged on its lees in stainless steel tanks and comes from perfectly ripe grapes.
Both wines are produced in small quantities (around 12,000 bottles for the 1583 and just about 6,000 for III Año). Most of the production goes to the entry-level Albariño de Fefiñanes (between 120,000 and 150,000 bottles), a white wine that can be cellared for three to four years in good vintages.
The style of Fefiñanes is quite pure and straightforward with acidity adding finesse to the wines. Strange as it may seem, the winery doesn’t own a single hectare of vines and grapes are sourced from about 60 long-term purveyors who grow Albariño in the vicinity of Cambados.