Jose Estevez, the dynamic founder of Viña Almirante, did not start life as a viñero though it was in his blood. The story of Viña Almirante begins with Jose’s grandfather, who owned a farm in Cuba which was stolen by Casto after the revolution. The grandfather and his son fled to Spain in the 1960s, leaving behind Jose’s uncle who could not get out and soon disappeared. Jose grew up in Rias Baixas and though working as a labor lawyer, always loved the farm and was a very talented home winemaker for years. So talented that people kept telling him to make it his full-time vocation.
In 2002, when a beautiful hillside vineyard, owned by 2 spinster sisters, came up for sale, he found a partner and bought it. This was the realization of his dream, to go back to the land stolen from his family. He said it was a scary moment to dive into this new venture but he felt propelled by his family history, his dream and his love of the land; call it fate.
He now owns 35 ha of vines, all on the slopes. Harvest is by hand. Albariño grows in small bunches, traditionally in the parada (pergola) system of high trellising to keep the grapes away from the humid ground in this maritime region. Jose is totally hands on, producing about 7500 cases.
According to Jancis Robinson:
“Many of the purest Albariño wines come from Val do Salnes. All three zones (Salnes, Rosal and Condado ) share the same granite based subsoils and relatively cool, damp maritime climate.”