We will reach Praza das Praterías and then the entrance to Rúa da Raíña, whose ground floors contain nothing but bars, dozens of old taverns and restaurants serving tasty Galician tradition. In many, house wine is still drank in bowls accompanied by generous tapas. On the façades, alternating with street lamps, there is an abundance of cast-iron signs with decorative motifs: scallop shells, Crosses of St. James or graphic references to the establishment’s name, such as O Gato Negro or Orella, famous for their tapas.
In these wine bars and taverns we can find wines belonging to Galicia’s five certified varieties. Although this region undoubtedly produces some of the best white wines in the world, magnificent reds are also beginning to stand out. Galicia is curiously the only Spanish wine-producing area where wines are called by the name of the grape that is used, rather than the certified name of the wine-producing region: an “albariño” is a wine that is actually labelled as Rías Baixas, which is among the best whites in the world. The same is true of the godello grape, whose wines (Valdeorras) are beginning to stand out in competitions and tastings. And the same can be said of reds: you usually ask for a “mencía,” the grape used in Ribeira Sacra wines, which began to be produced 20 centuries ago to satisfy the palate of Roman caesars. The other wine varieties, both from Ourense, are the exception to this tendency: Ribeiro, which features both white and red wines, and Monterrei, which are low-acid wines.