The Barros family founded this winery in 1994 to produce their own wines from the AlbariÃ±o vineyards they had started to plant in the SalnÃ©s (the most prominent of RÃas Baixasâ€™ subareas) in the 1970s. Their 10 hectares ranked among the largest plantatings of their time. From the very begining, the family's philosophy was based on aging AlbariÃ±o on its lees. This involved a respectful, herbicide-free approach that allowed working with natural yeasts.
The original vineyards include two hectares of their own in the village of VillagarcÃa de Arousa (they had to buy land from 25 producers!) and other eight rented in MeaÃ±o, very close to Cambados. The winery was built next to the first set of vines in VillagarcÃa de Arousa on a fairly steep slope overlooking the port of Carril. According to owner Marcos Barros, this is the northernmost vineyard in SalnÃ©s, grown at a higher elevation than the average. Granitic soils feature a rocky rather than sandy profile here.
Later on, they have been renting other properties in different spots of the SalnÃ©s valley to reach the 32 hectares they grow at present, including an area with alluvial soils marked by the influence of the river rather than the sea given the proximity to the Umia river. Maior de Mendoza produces all their wines from vineyards directly tended by them.
Wine growing practices include pergola trained vineyars with wide corridors to ensure maximum ventilation and avoid soil humidity. They work hard to remove any excess of vegetation and to control vigour by thinning, trimming and leaf removal, so that bunches are properly aerated. "Our climate involves temperatures and levels of humidity that encourage the development of fungus, but it also provides an antidote: Atlantic winds dry out the bunches, but they act much faster on pergola trained vineyars than on trellised vineyards", points out Marcos. This has lead him to convert a three-hectare estate from trellis to pergola. He is also proud of having stopped using herbicides 30 years ago and for unusual low yields in his oldest vines ranging from 4,000 to 6,000 kilos per hectare.
Their classic range of AlbariÃ±os aged under lees sources grapes from their 10 hectares of old vines. These are wines intended to develop in bottle so malolactic fermentation is avoided. Relatively available, Maior de Mendoza Sobre LÃas (42,000 bottles, â‚¬12) was the first wine produced by the winery. Aged for at least three months, it is usually released in April or May. Aging times are extended in the case of 3 Crianzas (around 6,000 bottles, â‚¬19). It spends nine months under lees, then five months in stainless steel tanks and undertakes further aging in bottle before its release. This wine has a notable ability to age as shown in vertical tastings; it is only produced in outstanding years.
A single-vineyard AlabriÃ±o showing distinctive character, Finca Las Tablas (1,200 bottles, â‚¬32) is the new top-of-the-range. Grapes are sourced from the vineyard surrounding the winery. Intended for cellaring as the rest of the wines aged under lees, this is the first take of Maior de Mendoza on barrel aging. The wine is aged in stainless steel tanks for a year, then spends six months in oak barrels and undertakes considerable bottle aging before its release.
At the beginning of the 2000s, the company launched an afforadable range of AlbariÃ±os under the brand Fulget. Intended to fill by-the-glass demand, it features two wines retailing between â‚¬8 and â‚¬10 with production ranging between 80,000 and 100,000 bottles.