Located in the Salnés Valley, right in the heart of Albariño country in Galicia, this winery is part of the Zamora Company and enjoys stunning views over the Arousa estuary.
Mar de Frades has heartily adopted a marine theme for its image. Its blue bottle (Hock style) with recently redesigned labels has turned into a great marketing success. Mar de Frades (€14) is the “blue” Albariño with a thermosensitive label displaying a galleon when the bottle is chilled to the appropriate serving temperature. This might have helped its pricing level, slightly higher than other quality Albariños.
Mar de Frades means “Sea of Friars” in Galician. It is also the name of a spot in the Arousa estuary where pilgrims disembarked from their maritime journey on their way to Santiago. At the foot of the winery, down the southern hillside of mount Valiñas, lies a 20+-year-old vineyard which is the source of Finca Valiñas. The winery’s top white (22€) combines barrel fermented and stainless steel-aged batches resulting in a balanced wine with almost unnoticeable oak and cellaring potential.
The winery pioneered a sparkling Albariño when the Rías Baixas Appellation established this new category: Mar de Frades Brut Nature (€19), made using the Champenoise method. Fruit notes overpower any autolytic flavours produced during aging and the price is higher that many Cavas with further aging, yet Albariño lovers seem to have embraced it wholeheartedly showing the group's skillful marketing abilities.
In the 2016 vintage, Mar de Frades released a single-varietal Godello (€21) made with grapes from the Salnés Valley. The wine is fermented and aged in stainless steel tanks for eight months, then spends four months in oak.
All grapes are hand-harvested. Ganimede fermenters equipped with inverted cones in the inside maximize the use the CO2 generated during fermentation and allow skin macerations avoiding the risk of oxidation. Since 2007, all these processes are overseen by technical director Paula Fandiño.
Apart from Mar de Frades, Zamora Company owns Ramón Bilbao in Rioja, Ramón Bilbao Rueda, and Cruz de Alba.
Both the wines and the traditional Galician orujo or pomace brandy can be bought at the winery's online store.