Spain’s Rías Baixas has long been influenced by its proximity to the sea, and its wines are no exception. Here, a visual tour of the region, where tradition, and albariño, reign supreme.

MAY 11, 2017, by LIZZIE MUNRO

Among the first things you’ll notice in Rías Baixas, a small, winemaking region tucked inside Spain’s Galicia, are the clock-like rhythms of the water. On a recent morning in the coastal town of O Grove, the local estuary was so shallow and empty that its sandy soils, slick with moisture, were as reflective as glass. It’s hard to imagine that just hours before, that same bed had been at high tide, deep and capped by waves barreling in from the Atlantic.

Unlike much of Spain, which borders on the Mediterranean Sea, Rías Baixas (and all of Galicia, for that matter) is marked by a unique, maritime climate—a detail perhaps most evident in the local fishing villages. There, the ebbs of the ocean have provided something of an industrial lifeblood for centuries; even today, in the neighborhood of San Tomé, receding waters bring dozens of women (known as mariscadoras) out into the shoals each day to dig for shellfish by hand—just as they did generations ago.

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