Who: Constantina Sotelo and family
What: Rias Baixas (not in Appellation)
Where: Castrelo-Cambados
When: Bottles since 1999, the family has farmed here for more generations than are recorded

Constantina Sotelo is a very lone voice in the Rias Baixas; to our knowledge the only producer who has embraced completely natural methods of winemaking and thus making the most terroir transparent wines in the region across their entire range and is fully organic in the vineyard, just in itself a massive challenge in this damp, cool climate.

They are located just metres from the sea, or rather one of the inlets or Rias, the Ria de Arousa, in the Salnés valley in the village of Castrelo part of the Cambados commune. They are less than 50m from their illustrious neighbour Alberto Nanclares.

All of the vineyards lie on granite soils within a few hundred metres of the family house which was built in the eighteenth century and where they make the wine in the converted garage. There are around 40 small parcels each of which is worked carefully by hand with the vines trained on pergola up rustic granite posts. There’s a healthy and brilliant cover crop in each vineyard, which is merely scratched and trimmed during the growing seasons. Geese wander in the vineyard closest to the house. The vineyards are mostly planted to Albariño with a few plots of Espadeiro and Caiño, two low alcohol, crunchy red varieties.

All the family, Constantina and her husband, and her two children David and X work together and very much as their ancestors worked the same vines, working with the natural rhythms of the day, the season, the moon and stars. And there’s nothing fancy or calculated about this, it’s simply a continuation of ancestral ways.

But in the garage there’s some magic at work. These Albariños are nothing like the industrial mainstream big brands which have become so familiar, even fashionable at home and abroad. The Sotelo wines are made without any entrants in inox and old barrels, both oak and chestnut, as well as clay jars and demi-johns. Some are “orange” or fermented on their skins, some whole bunch, all express an incredible purity, a thrilling energy, a beautiful ripe and complex fruit character. All the wines have a wonderful freshness and all the bottles we’ve had retain their purity and freshness for a good two weeks.

The wines are under the radar. We have very occasionally spotted them in Ibiza and in Barcelona. A bottle on the beach in Ibiza at the wonderful Nudo restaurant at Aiguas Blancas in the summer of 2022 was too good to ignore and we called to visit.

Constantina Sotelo Location