Jorge Ordóñez is the United States’ most important pioneer for the Albariño grape and D.O. Rias Baixas, as he was the first person to introduce this grape and region to the U.S. in 1991. Told he would never sell more than 100 cases of Albariño in New York City, he persevered, and now owns a winery in the Valley of Salnés, the best appellation of D.O. Rias Baixas.
Named for the straw-like canas (reeds or canes) that line the shores of the Atlantic inlets that carve into the granite coast of Galicia, the winery’s philosophy is to produce a traditional, authentic, and serious Albariño, in the style of the artisan wines that Ordóñez discovered when he first arrived in the appellation in 1991.
When Jorge first travelled to Rías Baixas, the D.O. did not officially exist. What he found was a rich culture of family viticulture and winemaking. Most families had small plots of Albariño planted on pergolas built with posts taken from the mother rock – granite. Most of this Albariño was fermented and aged on the lees in large chestnut foudres.
Jorge also selected D.O. Valdeorras due to its unique conditions for growing Mencía, Galicia’s most important red grape. The combination of slate soils, high altitudes, old vines, and warmer climate compared to the rest of Galicia provide Valdeorras with the best terroir for growing Mencía.