Atalier is the exciting new Rías Baixas Albariño project from the redoubtable Raúl Pérez, produced in conjunction with his friend and frequent collaborator Rodri Méndez of the Forjas del Salnés estate in the Val do Salnés subzone.
The third vintage of the Albariño 2017 Atalier fermented in 5,000-liter oak foudre and stainless steel, approximately 50/50 of each.
A Cruz das Ánimas’ (trans. “The Crossroads of Souls”) is nothing short of explosive. It leaps out of the glass with aromas of oyster shell and etherized granite and follows through with a palate rich in marine-inflected yellow and green fruits and sporting a powerful surge of acidity.
The grapes come from a pair of Atlantic-adjacent old vine sites in the Cambados area of the Salnés valley. Despite the supercharged acid impression here, the harvest was actually undertaken quite a bit later than the average for the zone. The reason for this is that Raúl likes to wait until the malic acid levels in the grapes go down enough to obiviate the need for even partial malolactic fermentation (a practice far more prevalent in the Ríaz Baixas than back labels and tech sheets would suggest). The resulting must then ferments and ages in large, neutral French oak foudres. The oxygenation that occurs during this élevage gives the wine a softer, rounder entry that balances the razor-sharp acids that might otherwise render the wine shrill.