BELL RINGER! BULL’S EYE!
Atalier is the exciting new Rías Baixas Albariño project from the redoubtable Raúl Pérez, produced in conjunction with his friend and project partner Rodri Méndez of the highly acclaimed Forjas del Salnés estate in the Val do Salnés subzone.
This is the BEST YET of their collaborative Albariño and it continues to be 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 salinity and oyster shell and follows through with a palate rich in marine-inflected, crunchy 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 prevent the need for even partial malolactic fermentation (a practice far more prevalent in the Rías Baixas than back labels and tech sheets would suggest). The resulting must ferments and then 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.
“The 2020 Atalier comes from the A Cruz das Ánimas vineyard in Dena, in the town center. It matured in 5,000-liter oak foudres, where the wine matured for seven months. It has the spark and liveliness of 2020, a transparent, pure and defined Albariño with good acidity and a salty, very tasty finish. This transcends its price point. 15,000 bottles were produced from 1.5 hectares. Drink 2020-2026.” – 94 points, Wine Advocate (LG) February 2022