Zarate, situated in the Salnés Valley, is known as a pioneering producer of Albariño. The roots of the property can be traced back to the 18th century but it was in the 1950s that they pioneered winemaking practices used to this day that revolutionized production for Rías Baixas’ most important grape variety. Biodynamic practices are a key ideology for the property and they have made all their wines without pesticides for 15 years.
The family winery has 6,5 ha of vines right by the Atlantic Ocean. They have 11 plots around the villages of Sisá and Padrena. Soils are granite with some sand mixed in. The climate is very cool and rainy because of the Atlantic. Three of their plots have ungrafted vines.
From 2000 the winemaker has been Eulogio Pomares who with his uncompromising style has further improved the quality of the vineyards. Key to this has been organic agriculture, tightly controlled yields and careful work in the cellar. The results can be seen in clean, pure and refreshingly acidic age-worthy wines. Zarate’s wines have received high points from Robert Parker and Wine & Spirit has named them among the hundred best wineries in the world.
Eulogio got his spurs for winemaking from his family property and then went on to study oenology in France. After his studies Eulogio headed to Germany where he did research on the differences and similarities between Albariño and Riesling. According to Eulogio the two grapes have several similar features but he opines that Zarate’s Albariños are more akin to white Burgundy like Meursault or Chablis. Visiting the winery in 2016, the critic James Suckling agreed on this point. Eulogio’s interest in Albariño runs deep in his family – his great-uncle Ernesto Zarate was in fact a pioneer working with the grape and greatly influenced it becoming the main grape variety of Galicia.