Cume do Avia

Galicia, Spain
Cume do Avia
Cume do Avia

The Story

We first met Diego Collarte on an unnamed road outside of Ribadavia, in Spain’s Ribeiro wine country. As Cume do Avia’s ringleader and instigator, he’s the one who claims responsibility for the “completely irrational decision” his clan made fifteen years ago.

Diego and his brother, Álvaro, grew up in Vigo, northwestern Spain’s largest metropolitan and industrial area. The bustle of city life wasn’t in their blood, so in their early twenties they embarked on the courageous restoration of vineyards in an ancient Galician ruin where their ancestors once lived. “I was not interested in material things. I only wanted to be satisfied with what I do,” Diego explained.

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Lay of the Land

Aside from the sentimental reasons for seeking their ancestral heritage as the starting point for their dream, there were also technical ones that play to the exceptional quality of their wines: the proximity of the land to the Atlantic; the south and west-facing orientation to maximize the sun’s heat in an otherwise cold region; the richness of the diverse soils, and the constant whistle of fierce winds that bring in fresh air and help grapes to stay dry and pest free. It’s an ideal place within this lush green landscape for their organic and biodynamic practices, extremely difficult tasks in the Ribeiro, a region Diego lovingly refers to as a “paradise for fungus.” (See a 3D map of the vineyard here. The vineyards are only to the left of the main road.)

In a land mostly known for granite, the diversity of soils in their vineyards adds great breadth to their wines, filling the gaps where granite alone can fall short. From one meter to the next, their vineyard soils can quickly change from granite to schist to slate—three of the greatest soil types that exemplify the concept the French refer to as a vin de terroir. The soil grain is equally diverse and randomly shifts back and forth between sand and clay, bringing even more range of palate textures and weight. Some soils are dark orange, white or brown, depending on the mineral makeup. Within only nine hectares (twenty-two acres), it’s an extremely diverse plot of land.

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