Santiago Ruiz

Galicia, galicia Spain

The Ruiz family has been making wines in Galicia since the 1860s. Ángel Ruiz, Santiago’s grandfather, was one of the first people to bottle wines in the region. Santiago then picked up the baton and continued the pioneering spirit of his grandfather by installing the first ever stainless steel tanks in Rías Baixas. He was also a key figure in the establishment of the Rías Baixas DO in the 1980s. Though Santiago only fully dedicated himself to wine after he retired from a career in naval insurance, such was his contribution to the development of modern winemaking in the region that a street in San Miguel de Tabagón bears his name. The new winery, built in 2007, is fully equipped with state-of-the art winemaking technology and head winemaker Luisa Freire, an expert in aromatic varieties, makes clean and expressive white wines that reflect the unique sense of place of O Rosal.

O Rosal is the most southerly of the five Rías Baixas sub-zones, situated on the north bank of the river Miño, which marks the border with Portugal. O Rosal enjoys more sunlight hours and lower rainfall than other subzones and the vineyards here benefit from both cooling Atlantic breezes and the moderating influence and increased airflow from the river. Soils in O Rosal are predominantly sandy over a granite bedrock, this translates into wines with an aromatic richness combined with a characteristic wet-stone minerality. Loureiro, a variety prized for its aromatic flavour profile, performs particularly well here and wines labelled ‘O Rosal’ must include this grape in the blend, something that distinguishes them from the majority of Rías Baixas wines which are 100% Albariño. The Santiago Ruiz vineyards cover 38 hectares and are planted with Albariño, Loureiro, Caíño Blanco, Treixadura and Godello. All the vineyards are sustainably farmed and harvesting is carried out by hand.

The ‘O Rosal’ is a blend of Albariño, Loureiro, Caiño Blanco, Treixadura and Godello. The varieties are all vinified separately and undergo a period of lees ageing before the final blend is assembled. It is a vibrant wine with bright aromas of apple, apricot and ripe lemon coupled with subtle herbal notes. The distinctive label is a hand-drawn map of the region, originally created as a guide for guests travelling to Santiago’s daughter’s wedding which took place at the winery.

The ‘Rosa Ruiz’ is a 100% Albariño that comes from old, pergola-trained vines planted at the foot of the old Santiago Ruiz winery (now a museum) in San Miguel de Tabagón. These old vines produce low yields of extremely concentrated fruit, packed with flavour. An extended pre-fermentation maceration, to extract maximum aromatics from the thick-skinned Albariño grapes, and five months of lees ageing following fermentation have resulted in a complex wine and textured wine with intense aromas of apricot and ripe lemon. This bottle also has a distinctive label: a hand-drawn sketch based on an old photo of Santiago and Rosa standing on the balcony above the winery door.


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