Tasting Table: Homeward Bound—A Winemaker Goes Back to his Roots

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By Sofia Perez

[Published by TastingTable, August 25, 2010]

History has a way of repeating itself. In the wine world, we’re grateful for the pattern, particularly when it produces things like Viña Meín Blanco, a balanced, thirst-quenching white wine from Spanish winemaker Javier Alén.

Ditching a successful career as a lawyer in Madrid in the 1980s, Alén returned to his childhood home in the Ribeiro wine region of Galicia and bought an abandoned vineyard. But this was hardly a cushy early-retirement plan: The Ribeiro had morphed from historic greatness into a source for poor-quality jug wine.

Determined to restore the region’s reputation, Alén replanted his land—which had become overrun with plonk-producing Palomino grapevines—with local varieties like Treixadura. Once known as the region’s star white grape, it offers heady floral and citrus notes, a silken texture, and pointed acidity.

The revival was successful. In Treixadura’s second life, it makes up the majority of Alen’s Viña Mein Blanco, a bottle with a fruity, herbaceous nose and a dry minerality. It’s the ideal pour for late-summer fare: elegant and informal—and, at less than $20 a bottle, affordable, too.

Here’s to going home again.