Few things reveal as much about a landscape as the views from mountain lookouts.
To understand a little more about our beloved Salnés valley, in the heart of Rías Baixas, we asked Ana and David, who are in charge of our team at Pazo Cilleiro, to suggest two particularly iconic and notable high landmarks.
They did not hesitate to choose two very different spots, although both are of great importance for this small and dynamic wine-growing region known as Salnés.
1. Mount Siradella
The lower of the two stands at just 160 metres elevation in the centre of the O Grove peninsula.
It may seem modest, but being surrounded by water almost on all four sides lends it undeniable presence.
That’s right: the entire isthmus between O Grove and Sanxenxo on the mainland can be seen from Siradella. The side of the isthmus facing the ocean forms the famous Lanzada beach. The other side overlooks the marshes of the Arousa estuary.
A peculiar feature about Siradella is that it is crowned by strangely shaped granite rocks, such as the Pedra Cabaleira. The other striking fact is that one can still see pachena cows grazing on the slopes of this mountain. It is one of the few coastal spots where cattle, once abundant in the area, can still be seen today. In recent decades, however, cows and other livestock have gradually disappeared and moved towards Galicia’s inland areas.
2. Mount Xiabre
Looking out from Siradella across the other side of the Arousa estuary, one can clearly see a much higher mountain, Xiabre, which stands at 640 metres elevation.
With its pyramid-like shape and steep slopes covered in vegetation, Mount Xiabre is one of the most important peaks in the Salnés region. It is located between the districts of Catoira, Caldas de Reis and Vilagarcía de Arousa and is a popular destination for cyclists, hikers and landscape lovers.
Its magnetism is undeniable: it is a major landmark visible from any spot in the north of the Arousa estuary. Its imposing figure stands out, as if it were guarding the passage through the Ulla river valley on the way to Compostela.
Siradella and Xiabre are about 24 kilometres apart as the crow flies. In between lie lowlands with small plots of trellised vines: the famous Salnés vineyards. Pazo Cilleiro winery is located a little further east, at the foot of other hills which are also visible from a considerable part of the territory. It is worth gazing upwards to better understand this complex and distinctive wine-growing region.