To discuss Fillaboa does not necessarily mean to revert back to the past, but time in the world of wine is, too often, the only way reconfirm the beginnings that forged much of the history of the grape, Albariño, and county, Contado de Tea, in the DO Rias Baixas. Also, we cannot ignore that the best wineries are usually always home to unique and individual vineyards and a special wine, both of which have usually been handed down the generations.
Finca Fillboa, or just Fillaboa as is it known in the industry, is one of the oldest estates in Galicia. It is believed that the Romans even once inhabited the land, hence the Romanesque bridges that are situated at the entrance of the estate. The fortification and strategic location of the estate are also worth noting, both of which speak of the continued disputes between Portugal and Spain, until it was finally claimed by the Spanish crown after the last Portuguese occupation in the eighteenth century. Also, an old 1,600m long stone wall surrounds the estate, enclosing a stately manor house, stone chapel, relics of the wineries historical past, and the different plots of vineyards of the winery.
History of the winery
Fillaboa is a beautiful property located along the river Miño, near the town of Salvaterra, where the river Miño forms a natural border with Portugal. The estate was owned in 1806 by Conde de Salvatierra and Marqués de Sobroso, where in part they cultivated vines. In 1955, it was handed over to the Barreras family, joining the Masaveu group in 2000. This group comprises of other wineries such as Bodegas Murua in La Rioja, Bodegas Aráiz in Navarre and Bodegas Leda in Castilla y León. The estate is the largest in the province of Pontevedra and stands out as one of the best and most extensive vineyards in Galicia.
The Fillaboa winery was officially founded in 1986, and was one of the driving forces behind the creation of the DO Rías Baixas. It is situated within the subzone Contado de Tea.
Fillaboa is currently the only winery in Galicia part of the Grandes Pagos de España, an association of wine estates in Spain that was set up to defend and promote wines produced using single plots and vineyards, with unique personalities reflecting the specific terroir, soil, subsoil and climate. Today Fillaboa, which means "good daughter" in Galician, has 70 hectares of vineyards divided into 11 small plots. The vineyards here are home to granitic soils rich in minerals, sedimentation floodplain and boulders, which gives them an excellent sewer system. All of the vineyards grow exclusively Albariño grapes, cultivated using the traditional Trellis system, facing south, so they get an excellent aeration, essential to keep the grapes in perfect health in such a humid climate.
The Fillaboa winery works by blending ancestral knowledge with cutting edge production techniques, enhancing the natural transformation processes of the grape. The winery also carries out Viticulture techniques which are respectful to the environment. A first harvest is usually carried out in July, removing second rate clusters, which reduces the production of each strain and increases the quality of the fruit. In addition, some leaves of the plants are removed to increase solar exposure of each cluster and facilitate optimal ripeness.
When it is time for the actual harvest, only grapes in the best condition are selected to make the wine, eliminating those that are not in good condition. The grapes that are selected are transported to the winery immediately to ensure that they are not damaged by the sun and strong summer heat. After harvesting the grapes, the processing methods and techniques carried out, along with a small dose of intuition are vital to determine the future quality of Albariño Fillaboa in all its aspects: taste, aroma, bouquet and body.
Once in the winery, the wines are produced under controlled temperatures in stainless steel tanks in order to preserve their personality, the primary aromas and nuances of Albariño of each plot. The winery also works on other aspects of development and innovation, such as the cultivation of native lees, and other oenological projects, with the aim of working with the utmost precision and obtain the most from each grape.
Thus, given the typical characteristics of the terroir and the viticultural philosophy of focusing on the personalised treatment of each grape results in grapes rich in distinct aromas and nuances. In fact, the winery is a real laboratory of ideas where they perform measurements, experiments and analyses on very specific parameters of the Albariño on its vegetative cycle in each of the plots, the behaviour of musts during the various stages of vinification and the aging process.
Since the Masaveu Fillaboa family acquired the estate, its intention has been to create a white Albariño that is shoulders above anything else on the market, that is to say, an Albariño that stands out amongst its peers, which are already so popular. Therefore, it should be noted that Fillaboa wines are made from the best of the best grapes from the estate, and the winery have never made or bottled any wine using the whole harvest.
Currently the wine produces two different wines: Fillaboa Finca Monte Alto and Fillaboa Joven.
Fillaboa Finca Monte Alto, limited to 10,000 bottles in production, is the wineries trademark. This wine is produced using grapes taken from the Monte Alto plot, planted in 1988 in the highest point in the winery with the highest sun exposure, at 150 metres altitude on a meander of the river Miño. These factors combined with the unique microclimate and south orientation, sandy loam fields dotted with boulders, and their slopes of more than 20% allow for the harvest to take place vendimiar progressively grapes at optimum ripeness and acidity, are constants for obtain, harvest after harvest, wine payment of differentiated features, something unusual in the area. The wine undergoes fermentation in stainless steel tanks at controlled temperatures and.This wine stands out for its aromas of mature fruit, pineapple, apple, with citrus and nutty notes, a structured and rounded palate, with a certain mineralty.
Then we have the Fillaboa Joven, a very aromatic wine with a great intensity. With notes of pineapple, apple, citrus nuances, with a soft, fine palate in the attack, but with remarkable structure, well integrated acidity and a good balance of flavors.