Visiting Zarate with Eulogio Pomares, one of the most exciting producers in Rías Baixas, Spain

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Visiting Zarate with Eulogio Pomares, one of the most exciting producers in Rías Baixas, Spain

Zarate is a family winery based in Meaño, in the Salnés Valley in Rías Baixas. Since the 1950s this winery has been an important player in working with the Albariño variety. Back then, most of the wines in the region were red, but such has been the success with Albariño, the region is now 99% white and has grown susbstantially over recent decades.

Eulogio Pomares

Since the 2000 vintage, Eulogio Pomares has been viticulturalist and winemaker here. He’s one of the most highly regarded winemakers in Rias Baixas. As well as making the Zarate wines for his family, he also makes wines under his own name in a cellar he shares with Rodrigo Mendez in Xil.

As well as Albariño, Zarate also grow the indigenous red varieties Caiño Tinto, Loureiro Tinto and Espadeiro. Altogether, there are 6.5 hectares of vines here, split into 11 plots in two villages, both in Salnés.

In the cellar where Eulogio makes his own wines: note chestnut barrels, amphorae (new) and a wax dipper

For the last 3 years Eulogio hasn’t used SO2 during fermentation; it’s only used after the first racking in December or January. He needs to use it to block malolactic fermentation, which is usually undesirable in Albariño. Typically, he will bottle with 40 ppm total and 20 ppm free, which is quite a low level.

2017 was a difficult vintage in the region because it was too dry and warm, and unusually, acidity levels were low. So he harvested by acid: the first vintage ever he has potentially had too little acidity.

Zarate Albariño 2016 Rías Baixas, Spain
From Val do Salnes. Focused, fresh and crisp, with pure citrus fruit and a linear personality. Juicy acidity. Fresh and delicate and lemony with nice acidity and subtle tangerine hints. 91/100

Zarate Balado 2016 Rías Baixas, Spain
This is fermented and aged in stainless steel, and spends 6 months on the lees with no battonage. The grapes come from the middle zone of Salnes. Taut and linear with crisp grapefruit and lemon notes. Very focused with clean fruit. Pure, expressive and with potential for development. Tending to austerity. 93/100

Zarate Balado 2017 Rías Baixas, Spain (tank sample)
Lively and focused with high acid (8 g/l) but also texture. Has tension with ripe citrus fruit, pear and a hint of mandarin. Lovely acid core here. 92-94/100

Zarate Tras da Viña 2012 Rías Baixas, Spain
This spends 24 months on lees in stainless steel with no battonage and no malolactic. Very fine and detailed with a slightly creamy, dairy edge to the grapefruit and lemon. Bright with lovely mineral complexity. 93/100

Zarate Tras de Viña 2017 Rías Baixas, Spain (tank sample)
Decomposed granite soils. Lovely weight: fruity with mandarin and lemon fruit, and a crystalline texture. Has nice graininess. 92-94/100

Zarate El Palomar 2004 Rías Baixas, Spain
Barrel fermented with full malolactic fermentation in a large foudre. This is the second vintage of this wine. Complex with some nuts and honey. Rich palate showing some evolution with pear, lemon and tangerine and spice. Tangy and lively with great focus. 94/100

Zarate El Palomar 2017 Rías Baixas, Spain
Full malolactic in large foudres. Complex, broad and textured. Has a hint of creaminess and nice depth. Pretty and expressive with apricot, yellow plum and some lemons. Very fine. 92-94/100

Zarate Albariño 2009 Rías Baixas, Spain
This has developed very nicely. Still fresh and appealing with some slight cabbage notes, nice citrus fruit and hints of tangerine and apricot. Has brightness and focus. 92/100

Zarate Fontecón Rosé 2017 Rías Baixas, Spain
1500 bottles made. Caino Tinto, Albarino and Espadheiro. Full pink in colour, this is supple and fresh with red cherry and a bit of citrus fruit. Very fine and expressive with nice juiciness. Supple and bright with nice density and focus. 91/100

Zarate Espadeiro 2017 Rías Baixas, Spain (tank sample)
Concentrated juicy raspberry and cherry fruit. Sappy and vital, with hints of ginger and spice. 88-91/100

In Euologio’s other cellar, we tried a few things.

Eulogio Pomares Carralcoba Parcelarios (I) 2015
This is from a vineyard close to the sea, with alluvial granite and river stone soils. This was fermented in a 1000 litre chestnut barrel. Astonishingly complex with nuts, pear and spice on the nose. The palate is crystalline with apples, lemons and grapefruits, as well as nut and honey richness. So intense and vital. Very fine. 95/100

Eulogio Pomares Carralcoba Parcelarios (I) 2016
So pure and textural with refined, fine-grained mineral citrus fruits. Has lovely lemon, grapefruit and fine herb notes. Concentrated and refined with fine texture and a linear personality. This is profound. 96/100

Eulogio Pomares Carralcoba Parcelarios (I) 2017 (cask sample from 1000 litre chestnut barrel)
Fine and pure with a hint of min. Lovely texture and finesse here with a prettiness to it, as well as a slight salinity. Very pure.

Eulogio Pomares Fento Albariño 2017
Very fresh and linear. Pretty with nice freshness and texture. Expressive and pretty with precision. Ripe and attractive. 90/100

Albarino 2017 from Xil, sample from foudre. Lovely texture and fruit with some spiciness. Textural but still has freshness.

Albarino 2017 from Xil, sample from amphora. Nice rounded texture, with richness and depth. Lovely palate here: really nice. He loses 3 litres a week through evaporation through the terracotta.

Albarino 2017 in Acacia, skin contact with stems for four weeks. Such perfume. Textured and powerful with lovely weight. In the mouth there’s a bit of grip.

Albarino 2017 with flor, in a bota from Sanlucar. Very complex and tangy with some nuttiness and apple hints. Fine, rounded and expressive, slightly salty, and refined.

Espadeiro 2017, a new plot inland. So light, pure and refined with some sappiness. Such lovely texture: a lighter red that’s almost a rose. Late ripening red grape with big bunches.

Caino Tinto 2017, whole bunch. Very bright and intense. Sappy with some grip. Good structure. Bright and primary and very good. This will be the Carrolceba Tinto.

Eulogio Pomares Desiguales Caiño Tinto 2016
Just 500 litres made. Whole bunch fermentation. Perfumed with red cherries, raspberries and some subtle green notes. Very focused, fresh and textural on the palate with some smoothness and also good acidity. Natural and fine. 94/100

Eulogio Pomares Carrolceba Caiño Tinto 2016
Fresh, perfumed red fruit nose. Bright, crunchy and elegant cherry fruit palate with freshness and a bit of grip. Juicy, refined and pure with nice elegance as well as a bit of flavour impact. 93/100

UK agent: Indigo Wines

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