We circled the airport in Vigo three times before landing. It might have been due to scheduling issues, but me and my travelling partners at least theorized that the ruggedness of the green but mountainous landscape below had something to do with it. And sure enough, once we actually touched ground on that short airstrip, the pilot hit the brakes so hard that I had to catch myself from smashing into the seat in front of me. After leaving our bags at the hotel, we headed out to catch the last hours of sunshine and some decent food, which was well needed after having spent 5 hours waiting at the dreadful 2G-terminal at Charles de Gaulle. I am absolutely convinced one of the circles of hell is an exact copy of 2G. No extra hellfire needed.
Unbeknownst to us, there was some sort of traditional spring festivity going on in town. For all my Google-fu, I have not been able to figure out what it was all about. But the music, and white clad women wearing flowers made for a nice welcoming. We sat down at one of the few open on this special Sunday, ordered the first of countless plates of Polbo á Feira (Galician classic: octopus with olive oil and paprika) and other lovely creatures from the sea. With that, some fresh, tangy white that went perfectly with the seafood. No tasting notes this time, the table could not have fit my notebook even if I had brought it. A calm set it, and I started getting that longing feeling which still lingers, weeks afterwards; this is one of those places I could live and be happy. And it was only going to get better, the coming morning we headed into wine country.
To call the wines of Galicia a novel experience would be somewhat of an exaggeration. For many years (decades at this point) this region has been touted as the most exciting winegrowing region of Spain, by some of the more competent wine writers and savvy sommeliers. And even though there in some circles is a certain hype, these wines are still a tough sell to the end consumer. You will get a suspicious stare recommending a Spanish white wine to most restaurant guests, and all of a sudden you have something to prove. Grüner Veltliner used to get the same treatment, and I know our sommelier elders fought the same battle with German Riesling. With older guests, that battle is still very real.
Luckily, at this point, with quality and price being where they are, championing the wines of Galicia is an easy cause to adopt, and I would dare to call it a righteous one. If I was convinced about the level of quality of wines before visiting the region, I was coming back positively in love.
Disclosure: The trip, which took place in May 2013 was organized by ICEX, the Spanish Institute for Foreign Trade. Transport, accommodation and most meals were paid for as a price for winning a competition organized in Stockholm, Sweden concerning knowledge of Spanish Wine. Thus, we visited a selection of producers representing all tiers of quality.
Also: I am not a wine critic; I have no intention of reporting on wines and producers I did not find interesting, so do not look to me for any kind of conclusive or comprehensive report. I can only hope to motivate someone else to take up that investigation for him or herself.