The Romans first carved the Ribeira Sacra terraces (solcacos), over 2,000 years ago, into canyons and gorges so dizzyingly steep that it makes the hillsides of Côte-Rôtie look like nursery slopes. Over the centuries, monks and their many monasteries (hence the name Ribeira Sacra) expanded and maintained the gigantic network of solcacos and vines along the rivers Sil, Miño and Bibei. At the end of the 19th century phylloxera followed by economic depression, civil war and dictatorship ruined Galicia. The younger generations fled the country and what took centuries of pain and suffering to build was abandoned in decades.
Fortunately, local heroes such as Adega Algueira’s Fernando González Riveiro are restoring some of these historical vineyards and painstakingly reclaiming their heritage. Fernando is an exceptional vine grower and was the first to believe in the true native grape varieties from the area: merenzao (aka trousseau), brancellao, sousón, caiño etc.
Since 1980 he has done what no one else has; searching, selecting, re-planting and trialling these grapes in different soils and expositions, vinifying them separately to understand which terroirs they’re best suited to, resulting in long-lived wines with an incredible mineral resonance. A true legacy.