In the heart of O Salnés, we’ll enjoy outdoor activities, find peace in its monasteries and tour its most important vineyards and wineries.

We propose a wine tourism getaway to the heart of O Salnés, home to the roots of Albariño wine, to stroll among grapevines at the feet of stately wineries, both cuttingedge and of rustic beauty.

There are many possibilities offered to us by this subzone of the Rías Baixas Designation of Origin, with numerous companies dedicated to winemaking hidden away in old towns like Cambados or among the gentle hillsides that slowly descend to the Atlantic. We’ll take advantage of the sea-tinged atmosphere of the estuary and the leaf-filled nature of the valley to arrange some activities outdoors.

More information...
- Mar de Frades winery. www.mardefrades.es
- Agro de Bazán winery . www.agrodebazan.com
- Pazo de Zárate winery. www.bodegas-zarate.com

Day 1

Hiking trail and dinner in an old mill

We choose the municipality of Meaño as the departure point for our wine tourism experience because of its beautiful scenery and central position on the peninsula of O Salnés, where the Albariño grape extends its domain.

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Among the accommodation offered is a boutique country hotel with excellent service, which we’ll reach in the afternoon. We’ll have time to arrange a first exploratory activity of these lands which concentrate the greatest surface area of vineyards with the Rías Baixas Designation of Origin.

We propose travelling a section of the nearby River Chanca Mills hiking trail, in particular the one that runs between the parishes of Lores and Simes. You’ll enjoy a leaf-filled nature, stop to listen to the sound of the small waterfalls and eddies among the rounded stones and watch how the current gently rocks the water’s plant life

Restored mills, more than 200 years old

We’ll start off at the bridge over the River Chanca near Lores parish church. Ahead lie six kilometres of nearly flat land. The route is well-signed, provided with explanatory panels, wooden bridges and walkways and has lighting. We’ll find many restored mills, such those of A Ponte, Igrexa, Daniel O Ferreiro, Entremuíños, Quintáns, Marcial de Barbeito and Couso. Some are over 200 years old.

Approaching Simes, on the second section and passing the road, we see that the forest gives way to open fields and Albariño grapes being cultivated. We suggest that – if time permits – you ask staff at the country hotel to prepare you a picnic with local products and Albariño wine so that you can take advantage of the wonderful recreational areas along this route. Another very recommendable alternative is, once the hike is over, to dine in one of the old mills along the route, restored and converted into a boutique restaurant. Its cuisine is known for its grilled meats.

 

Day 2

Peace and tranquillity in the Convent of Santa María de Armenteira

After breakfast, we’ll use our morning getting to know the wine and cultural heritage of O Salnés. We suggest you start with a visit to the Monastery of Santa María de Armenteira, well signposted since we took the AG- 41. Considered the Cathedral of Salnés, it is located in a wooded setting, protected by Mount Castrove. It was founded in the twelfth century by the Cistercian Order, although only the church remains of the original building. We’ll see its interior illuminated by a magnificent openwork rose window composed of geometric elements.

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The nuns, who have been living in it since 1989, have brought it back to life and opened it up to the community. If we’re thinking about getting away from it all and seeking out some peace and quiet, they’ll open the doors of their inn to us. This provides them with some income, which they supplement with making hand-crafted medicinal soaps from the oil of the camellias they grow in their garden and which is distilled in the O Areeiro Plant Pathologies Station.

A tour of the Mar de Frades vineyard and wine cellar

And just three miles away we’ll be in Meis at the Mar de Frades winery, a reference in innovation in these parts. There, we’ll be able to observe their wine-making process. We begin in the vineyard, spread out in terraces with impressive views of the estuary. We continue on with the winery, whose cutting-edge design – which is evocative of a huge sailing ship – is integrated into the forest that crowns Mount Valiñas.

Its interior is dominated by a marked technological aesthetic that is most noticeable in the fermentation room, whose enormous steel tanks can be seen over the metal catwalks surrounding them. Winery staff are at our side the entire time. The tour ends with a tasting of their wines, although we can take our first steps in professional wine tasting with an expert sommelier.

Fish, seafood and Albariño wine in Cambados

With lunch in mind, we suggest returning to the O Salnés motorway towards Cambados, the standard bearer for Albariño wine. Close to the monumental Praza de Fefiñáns square, you will find many restaurants that pair the products of the town’s estuary with the fruity wines of the Rías Baixas Designation of Origin, both of well-deserved prestige. After lunch, we can wander through its stately streets or breathe in the sea breeze on the boardwalk as we contemplate the outline of Galicia’s largest estuary

Visit to the Agro de Bazán winery, in Vilanova de Arousa

In the afternoon, we’ll do a guided tour with a wine tasting at the stately Agro de Bazán winery, following the road to Deiro (PO-9005), which we will reach in less than ten minutes. It is located in the locality of Tremoedo, in the town of Vilanova de Arousa. Its neoclassical building was constructed in the style of French chateaux. It is partially buried on a hillside lined with extensive trellises arranged with calculated regularity.

The scenery, with its vineyards, forests and the sea, is as intoxicating as the visit inside. Here, the traditional stills in the distillation room where the augardenteiros prepare delicate pomace brandies and liqueurs from grape skins will draw your attention. The barrel room is an allegory to the tools used for tasting the wine; its granite columns reproduce the form of a wine-tasting glass and their capitals are shaped like a tastevin. At the end of the tour, we suggest we return to Meaño for dinner at our hotel.

 

Day 3

An all-terrain bike tour or a visit to a traditional wine cellar

After breakfast, we can bid farewell to O Salnés with a bit of exercise. In nearby Meis, we find the first mountain bike centre in Galicia where bike tours can be arranged. We can choose the trip to Mount da Escusa, which offers little difficulty and breathtaking views of the estuaries of Pontevedra and Arousa. Since some of its sections pass through pine forests, we are likely to find semi-wild horses grazing among the trees.

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If we prefer to take things easy, we can use our last stroll about Meaño to visit the Pazo de Zárate, rebuilt in the eighteenth century, which also houses a winery with a great family tradition. After passing through its massive granite wall via the wooden gate, we’ll come upon the mill and the old winery surrounded by antique tools for harvesting grapes and tilling. Their rustic beauty makes the perfect contrast to the stateliness and the cuttingedge quality of the wineries we visited the day before.

 

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