Posts Tagged ‘Ribeira Sacra’

Tenerife and Ribeira Sacra from Envinate

July 2, 2018 1 comment

There are some rather interesting wines produced by Envinte and of the most recent vintage I particularly like the 2016 Envinate, Lousas, Vinas de aldea, Ribeira Sacra.  It needs air to come into balance but then there is a tension between the high-toned, acidic flavors and the oily, ripe citrus fruit.  Cool stuff.  I could not coax the same complexity out of the 2016 Envinate, Taganan, Parcela Margalagua, Tenerife.  I often feel these Tenerife wines need short-term aging and that is my impression of this wine.  These wines are available at MacArthur Beverages.

2016 Envinate, Taganan, Parcela Margalagua, Tenerife – $28
Imported by Llaurador Wines.  A field-blend of Listan Negro, Listan Prieto, Baboso, Negramoll, Malvasia Negra, and more from 100+ year old vines.  Alcohol 12.5%.  Brighter, lighter, tarter, with dry tangy middle and watering acidity.  Finishes with fresh tannic service.  Needs time.  ** 2020-2025.

2016 Envinate, Lousas, Vinas de aldea, Ribeira Sacra – $32
Imported by Llaurador Wines.  This wine is 100% Mencia sourced from 60 year old vines.  Alcohol 12.5%.  High-toned and yeasty flavors to start but by the middle a gentle ripeness spreads through the mouth with an old leather note by the finish.  The acidity is almost sharp but with air the oily, ripeness contains it, bringing balance to the orange citrus and dry floral flavors.  Needs some air to show best.  *** Now – 2020.

Tasting 2001-2011 vintages of Descendientes de J. Palacios in Bierzo

January 16, 2015 Leave a comment

It is easy to taste more wine and research more subjects than I can write about.  These notes from a fall tasting of wine from Descendientes de J. Palacios prove that point.  The Palacios wines all came from a single cellar purchased last year by MacArthur Beverages.  The owner bought them direct from the Rare Wine Co. and had cellared them properly since purchase.  Thus there was no more reason needed to purchase these wines other than curiosity.  As I have an incredibly tiny dining room Roland generously offered to host the tasting.

Introductory Wines

That a white wine from Bierzo could be purely Dona Blanca was revealing for most.  The nose of the 2011 La Vizcaina, La Del Vivo, Lomas de Valtuile, Bierzo  was quite engaging and I enjoyed the mouthfeel.  It’s a shame it was so pricey. The 2011 Adega Algueira, Ribera Sacra  acted as a transition wine being made from Mencia in Ribera Sacra.  This young, grapey wine left me wanting to jump into the Palacios wines.  This pair of wines were purchased at Despaña Vinos y Mas.


2011 La Vizcaina, La Del Vivo, Lomas de Valtuile, Bierzo –
Imported by Peninsula Wines.  This wine is 100% Dona Blanca.    Alcohol 12.5%.  The nose was aromatic with forest and fresh pine notes.  In the mouth fresh fruit flavors eventually developed and were kept lively by balanced acidity.  The wine was rounded with glycerin becoming softer towards the finish.


2011 Adega Algueira, Ribeira Sacra –
Imported by Polaner Selections.   This wine is 100% Mencia.  Alcohol 13%.  This wine seemed reduced at first eventually showing a grapey, black fruited style of Mencia.  The wine was young with a citrus hint and grapey tannins.

The Descendientes de J. Palacios Tasting

The wines of Descendientes de J. Palacios are the result of the collaboration between Ricardo Perez and Alvaro Palacios that began in 1999.  They put together some 30 hectares of vines located in the hills near Corullón in the region of Bierzo in the northwest of Spain.  For our tasting we spanned much of the estate’s history with vintages that went from 2011 back to 2001.  The wines themselves encompassed four different bottlings.  Petalos marks the entry level and is made from old-vine Mencia sourced from many sites.  The Villa de Corullón uses fruit from vines up to 90 years of age located in vineyards that flank Corullón.  The Moncerbal and Las Lamas wines are made from vineyards located in the same valley south of Corullón .  The Moncerbal vineyards are located on a steep hillside between 650 – 740 meters in elevation.  The vineyards generally face south-west.  The soils here are a mixture of slates, quartzes, and marbles.  Las Lamas represents the fourth wine we would taste.  The fruit for these wines are sourced from small vineyards located just west of Moncerbal at similar altitude.  Here the vineyards face south with soils of broken slate.

The wines of Descendientes de J. Palacios quickly escalate both in price and scores.  With this in mind it might be surprising that the pair of vintages from the entry-level Petalos caught everyone off guard.  The 2011 Descendientes de J. Palacios, Petalos, Bierzo  is a strapping, young wine that I strongly recommend you find some for your cellar.  I write this because the 2006 Descendientes de J. Palacios, Petalos, Bierzo  has entered that second stage of life showing both fruit and bottle aged flavors.  It has developed incredibly well.  I will admit that, for no particular reason other than a lack of information, I half expected it to be past its peak.

Of the other selections my favorites included the 2007 Descendientes de J. Palacios, Moncerbal, Bierzo and the 2005 Descendientes de J. Palacios, Las Lamas, Bierzo.  This pair showed good balance of fruit, acidity, and strong structure that should reward after a few more years in the cellar.  Sadly, the trio of wines from the 2001 vintages showed as a whole that they were past their prime drinking.


2011 Descendientes de J. Palacios, Petalos, Bierzo
Imported by The Rare Wine Co.  This wine is 100% Mencia.  Alcohol 14.5%.  This showed round, grippy young fruit, some smoothness before savory, black minerals, and a slightly warm finish.  With air this robust wine became salty with drying, fine tannins.  A strapping wine.


2006 Descendientes de J. Palacios, Petalos, Bierzo
Imported by The Rare Wine Co.  This wine is 100% Mencia.  Alcohol 14%.  The attractive nose immediately showed more maturity.  The low-lying flavors were almost meaty with fine to medium textured tannins.  There was significant life in this wine which was still fruity showing red cherry, tart cranberry, and strawberry flavors.  With air the wine became more fragrant with floral aromas that made way to old wood and tart red fruit in the mouth.  Lovely.


2011 Descendientes de J. Palacios, Villa de Corullón, Bierzo
Imported by The Rare Wine Co.  This wine is 100% Mencia.  Alcohol 15%.  This wine was young and robust with a tight core of deep, sexy, racy fruit.  The fruit was sweet (alcohol?) but not from residual sugar.  This wine definitely stepped things up with not quite brawny floral flavors that retained lots of focus.


2007 Descendientes de J. Palacios, Moncerbal, Bierzo
Imported by The Rare Wine Co.  This wine is 100% Mencia.  Alcohol 14.5%.  There was an attractive, dark nose that was not quite stinky.  The flavors had a cool start followed by very fine blue fruit, a cinnamon finish, and dense, expansive aftertaste.  There was a robust, powerful structure that left drying tannins on the gums.   With air this wine showed good balance with dense, sweet blue fruit, lovely acidity, and a black minerally finish.


2007 Descendientes de J. Palacios, Las Lamas, Bierzo
Imported by The Rare Wine Co.  This wine is 100% Mencia.  Alcohol 14.5%.  There was a hint of butter on the nose.  In the mouth were lighter red fruit flavors that were gently dense and stylistically different.  There were very fine, smooth tannins that were more obviously from wood.  It had some texture.


2005 Descendientes de J. Palacios, Las Lamas, Bierzo
Imported by The Rare Wine Co.  This wine is 100% Mencia.  Alcohol 14.5%.  The subtle berry nose opened up to step out of the glass.  There were exotic flavors in the mouth that were savory with strawberry notes and spicy tannins in the structure.  There was concentrated fruit, lovely acidity that was more abundant than the 2007, and a really good finish.  Nice wine.


2001 Descendientes de J. Palacios, Las Lamas, Bierzo
Imported by The Rare Wine Co.  This wine is 100% Mencia.  Alcohol 14%.  There was a nose of tobacco followed by firm fruit in the mouth.  There was acidity and vintage perfume notes but the soft focus and hollow middle were detracting.


2001 Descendientes de J. Palacios, Villa de Corullón, Bierzo
Imported by The Rare Wine Co.  This wine is 100% Mencia.  Alcohol 13%.  The vintage perfume aromas were delicate.  The wine was very easy to drink with a personality of lighter fruit, strawberry flavors, and acidity.  It remained very approachable.


2001 Descendientes de J. Palacios, Moncerbal, Bierzo
Imported by The Rare Wine Co.  This wine is 100% Mencia.  Alcohol 14%.  Though this was fruity the flavors dropped off by the finish.


With the last three wines from the 2001 vintage leaving us wanting, Roland returned from his basement with a bottle of 2005 Granja Remelluri, Rioja Gran Reserva.  Into the big decanter/glass it went.  Roland worked the decanter, coaxing the wine to open up before pouring it out.  It was gorgeous!


2005 Granja Remelluri, Rioja Gran Reserva
Imported by De Maison Selections.  Alcohol 13.5%.  A harmonious wine with sweet fruit complemented by wood box.  The wine tasted younger as it breathed.  There is clearly strong potential with this wine.

1988 Sauternes

Our Sauternes flight proved we were doomed by vintages served in threes.  You know you are in bad luck when Panos Kakaviatos remotely diagnosed a problem with the 1988 Chateau Climens, 1er Cru Sauternes  based on a Facebook picture.  These wines came from two different cellars.


1988 Chateau Climens, 1er Cru Sauternes
Imported by Calvert Woodley.  With flavors of apple orchard fruit this was more advanced than it should have been as also evidenced by the color.  The fruit, glycerin, and acidity was all up front.


1988 Chateau Guiraud, 1er Cru Sauternes
Imported by Calvert Woodley.  Alcohol 13.5%.  This managed to remain floral.


1988 Chateau La Tour Blanche, 1er Cru Sauternes
Imported by Calvert Woodley. Alcohol 14%. This had grapier fruit and while the acidity was present, the flavors were very short leading to a textured, residual sugar infused finish.

Four AffordableWines from Iberia

December 12, 2013 Leave a comment

This is just a quick post for today.  The 2012 Vina Buena, Allende, La Ermita, Ribera del Duero is a strong value at $10 per bottle.  It has fruit, stones, acidity, and structure.  There are not many decent $10 wines so bear that in mind.   I have drunk an  earlier vintage of the 2011 Quinta do Passadouro, Passo but apparently have never written about it.  I’ll have to dig through my notes and pictures.  This bottle was more of a crowd-pleaser and was immediately accessible.   Despite the accessibility I preferred it after several hours when it was more complete.   My favorite of the lot is the 2011 D Ventura, Pena do Lobo, Ribeira Sacra.  I am a big fan of the producer and found this particular wine is in need of short-term cellaring.  It is worth the wait.  These wines were purchased at MacArthur Beverages.


2011 Muxagat Vinhos, Tinto Barroca, Douro – $15
Imported by Winebow.  This wine is 100% Tina Barroca souced from a vineyard planted in 2007 on soils of schist and granite at 1,800 feet.  It was fermented then aged for eight months in old cement vats.  Alcohol 13%.  There were young, drying red flavors then drying black fruit.  The fruit was young with some citrus and a drying structure in the finish.  The citric tannins continued though it developed some grapey concentration.  ** 2014-2015.


2011 Quinta do Passadouro, Passo, Douro – $13
Imported by Winebow.  This wine is a blend of 40% Touriga Franca, 30% Tinta Roriz, and 30% Touriga Nacional sourced from vines averaging 30 years of age on soils of schist. It was fermented in stainless steel then aged for 18 months in 80% used and 20% new barriques.  Alcohol 14%.  There were soft, billowy aromas of black fruit and vanilla.  In the mouth were flavors of round, dense fruit, and which were delivered with a gentle, puffy powdery vanilla note.  The wine was smooth with a chocolate hint.  With air it became a little fresh with baking spices.  It was a decent drinks from the get-go but I preferred it with air when it took on more minerals and floral flavors.  **


2012 Vina Buena, Allende, La Ermita, Ribera del Duero – $10
Imported by Tradewinds Specialty Imports.  This wine is 100% Tempranillo. Alcohol 13.5%.  The nose revealed subtle, wafting aromas of black fruit.  There was moderate concentration in the mouth with slightly floral, red and black fruit.  There was a subtle structure, salivating acidity, and a hint of stones.  There were some drying tannins in the structure which came out a bit with air.  Strong value. ** Now-2018.


2011 D Ventura, Pena do Lobo, Ribeira Sacra – $18
Imported by DeMaison Selections.  This wine is 100% Mencia sourced from 80+ year old vines on granite soils.  It was fermented in stainless steel.  Alcohol 13.5%.  The nose was slightly deep with orange and red fruit.  It took until the second night to soften a bit becoming more approachable yet maintaining grip.  There were high-toned flavors on a pillowy note of tart red fruit.  It had a powdery texture, leaving some ripeness on the gums.  It left a youthful impression.  **(*) 2014 – 2018.


Spanish Selections

September 17, 2013 2 comments

You should buy the 2012 Celler Jordi Llorens, Blankeforti.  It is certainly different and is a bit prickly from carbon dioxide, perhaps due to low sulphur, so you could give it a good shake as it warms if that bothers you.  Williams Corner Wines continue to deliver interesting wines.  Note, Jenn preferred the 2011 Perez, Guimaro over this wine.  The 2010 Navaherreros, Garnacha de Bernabeleva is the most powerful, young wine of those featured in this post.  It has good flavor so try it now if you are prepared but it is best to cellar it a few years.  A better idea might be to drink the young 2005 LAN, Gran Reserva.  I must admit I like drinking the 2009 Torres, Gran Coronas, Reserva.  One bottle was perfect after an hour of air, a second was less interesting.  I would be curious to see how the 2009 Alonso del Yerro develops. It has the components for aging but I must admit I was a little distracted by the heat.  Most of these wines were purchased at MacArthur Beverages.  The Navaherreros and Perez were purchased at Chambers Street Wines.


2012 Celler Jordi Llorens, Blankeforti, Conca de Barbera – $23
Imported by Williams Corner Wines.  This wine is a blend of Garnatxa Negra and Cabernet Sauvignon.  Alcohol 15%.  The aromatic nose steps out of the glass, spritely aromas with a citrus backing.  The mouth is a little sparkly at first with flavors of ripe citrus, red fruit, and orange peel.  This different wine was compelling, eventually leaving lipstick notes and ripe strawberry flavors on the lips. The wine remains nervous on the tongue tip with a balsamic note.  It is not gritty.  *** Now-2015.


2006 Bodegas Olarra, Anares, Reserva, Rioja – $15
Imported by Classic Wines.  Alcohol 13.5%.  The nose was tight and a little textured.  In the mouth were bright black and red fruit which was both firm and young.  The acidity was almost puckering then became salivating in the finish.  The tannins were present.  With air the wine became firmer, clean, and modern.  ** 2015-2020.


2005 LAN, Gran Reserva, Rioja – $22
Imported by Monsieur Touton.  Alcohol 14%.  There was a fine wood scent mixing with the black fruit aromas.  In the mouth there was already good complexity with focused ripe, black fruit and an ethereal flavor which continued into the aftertaste.  This was a tasty wine, still early in development, and should age well.  The structure was very fine with a concentrated ripeness.  *** Now-2023.


2009 Torres, Gran Coronas, Reserva, Penedes – $18
Imported by Dreyfus Ashby & Co.  This wine is a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Tempranillo.  Alcohol 14%.  There was a dark, inviting nature to the red and black fruit.  It developed with an hour of air.  A wood note mixed nicely with the unobtrusive structure and integrated acidity.  It is probably best to wait one year.  ** Now-2018.


2009 Alonso del Yerro, Ribera del Duero – $22
Imported by Monsieur Touton.  This wine is 100% Tempranillo.  Alcohol 14.7%.  The light nose revealed complex bitters-like aromas.  There were similar flavors in the mouth with dry and firm black fruit.  The wine was very drying with spicy tannins.  It eventually took on some initial weight, a slightly sweet ripeness, along with purple/black fruit mixed with violets.  There were very focused flavors and minerals.  There were good upfront flavors, a racy and minerally aspect, but the wine builds up to show a spirity nature.  **(*) 2016-2025.


2011 Bodegas Mas Alta, La Vilella Alta, Black Slate, Priorat – $20
Imported by European Cellars.  This wine is a blend of Grenache, Carignan, and Cabernet Sauvignon.  Alcohol 14.5%.  The nose was light and low-lying.  In the mouth were intense flavors of spicy blackberry supported by structure and acidity.  There was spicy cinnamon notes in the finish with Jenn finding “chocolate coffee.”  This was a big wine, not firm nor tight, but framed with a dry finish, salivating acidity, and a roughness towards the end.  ** Now-2015.


2010 Navaherreros, Garnacha de Bernabeleva, Vinos de Madrid – $22
Imported by The Rare Wine Company.  This wine is 100% Grenache fermented in a mixed if wood, stainless steel, and concrete.  Alcohol 15.5%.  This remained a young wine despite extensive air.  The flavors revolved around a focused core of fruit with the structure rising with air, leaving a dose of fine, drying tannins.  It took on cherry flavors in the middle.  *** Now-2025.


2011 Pedro M. Rodriguez Perez, Guimaro, Ribeira Sacra – $18
A Jose Pastor Selection imported by Vinos & Gourmet. This wine is 100% Mencia from vines averaging 40 years of age.  It is unoaked. Alcohol 14.5%.  The nose revealed floral berries and remained a bit subtle but good.  This was an acidity driven wine with tart black and red fruit that took on a little weight.  With air the tart black fruit mixed with a little ripe and drying tannins.  There was some salivating acidity as the flavors firmed up in the finish.  ** Now-2015.


Taking an Early Peek at Lou’s Cellar

January 5, 2012 1 comment

It had been four months since I last checked out the expansion of Lou’s house which includes a wine cellar and tasting room.  During this period Lou has photographed the construction and sent me pictures.  While viewing pictures and blueprints makes me excited, walking into his cellar allowed me to appreciate the balance of the design and appreciate the need for a tasting room.

Cellar Entrance from the Kitchen

The tasting room and cellar are located underneath the kitchen and dinning room. Situated in a newly excavated corner of the house everything was custom designed and built. The stairway is located off of the kitchen. During the day it is lit from above by a skylight and from the side by a large expanse of windows.

Stairway to the Tasting Room and Wine Cellar

To provide continuity and entice people downstairs, the hardwood floors from above are carried into the tasting room through three methods. The stairway is surrounded by a wooden ledge, which, as Lou commented, might be perfect for a display of empty bottles. The stairway flows down by being built from the very same hardwood, featuring a continuous tread and riser without any bullnose. Finally, the floor from the dinning room seamlessly bends into the tasting room entrance and becomes the ceiling of the tasting room.

The Tasting Room with Door to the Wine Cellar

The wooden tasting room ceiling is framed with a drywall tray-ceiling effect that takes on a structural note as it bends and channels to the floor.  By framing the stairway entrance into the tasting room this structural note implies that it supports the dinning room floor above.  At the same time it conveniently creates two alcoves.  The one to the left of the stairs may be used for glasses and decanters whereas the alcove on the right will feature a desk and computer. The tasting room contains the entrance to the wine cellar. Featuring a glass door, it affords a view into the cellar.

In the Wine Cellar, Facing the Tasting Room

The cellar itself is massively insulated and actively cooled.  The floor is lower than that of the tasting room to allow for a several inch layer of polished stone.  Lou will start off with half-height racking against the walls of the cellar.  There is also an alcove for the storage of cases.  The capacity may inevitably be expanded by increasing the height of the racking and installing racking in the center of the cellar.  Of course the inexpensive method of stacking cases on the floor may be employed as well.

Lou in his Tasting Room

Lou has documented the design and construction of his cellar so I will leave it up to him to publish future posts about this process and provide all of the details of the design.  When the construction completes in roughly one month, I will return during the day to take higher quality photographs and pay more attention to the design.  At one point in the evening Lou showed me a series of old tasting notes from the early 1980s.  Representing the beginnings of his serious attention to wine they made for a great read and will one day be published on this blog.  I can only imagine his excitement now that the construction of his wine cellar, tasting room, and dream kitchen are at the cusp of completion some 30 years after he first drank the great first growths of Bordeaux, vintage Ports, Burgundies, and Californian wines from the golden age.

Of course a gathering with Lou would not be complete unless we tasted some wines.

2010 Peter Lauer, Fass 6, Ayler Kupp, Riesling, “Senior”, Saar
This is imported by Mosel Wine Merchant and available for $27 at MacArthurs.  Named after the style of wine Florian’s grandfather likes this is produced from fruit sourced from the western part of Ayler Kupp where there are parcels of old vines.  The color is very light straw.  The light to medium nose is rich with flavors of stones and other wild aromas with a subtle underlying note of fruit.  In the mouth the flavors start off rich then ripe followed by a perfumed middle as acidity brings delineation to the wine.  The aftertaste is quite long leaving pleasing flavors and texture of stones on the lips and tongue.  There is a wild aroma and flavor,  I am not implying out-of-control, that I can only image is due to the indigenous yeasts.  Interesting and tasty stuff!

2010 Domaine des Aubuisieres, Cuvee de Silex, Vouvray
This is imported by Weygant and available from the store for $18.  Produced by Benrard Fouquet from 100% Chenin Blanc.  Drunk on the fourth night this wine was obviously tired but holding up quite well.  The precise nose featured stone fruits, perhaps passion fruit, and definitely sweet floral aromatics.  The mouth featured similar fruit, though faded, with a good mouthfeel.  The flavors were hard to describe, due to my lack of experience, but the minerals and fresh acidity were great.  This strong value is worth purchasing to provide a proper note.

2009 Domaine Rene Leclerc, Bourgogne
This is imported by MacArthurs and available for $25.  This wine is 100% Pinot Noir produced by Rene and his son Francois.  The domaine consists of 12 hectares located in and around Gevrey-Chambertain which feature many old vines.  No more than 25% new oak is used.  Tasted on the second night, there was a very pretty nose of framboise and pure strawberry.  The fruity nose made way to a leaner, structured mouth of red fruit, notes of pencil lead, and some tartness.  The flavors then turned to dark fruit in the aftertaste.  Very pleasing.

2007 D. Ventura, Vina Caneiro, Ribeira Sacra
This is imported by De Maison Selections. I recently purchased the last bottle at MacArthurs for $22.  Thought I did not take a formal note you may read about the last bottle tasted in May 2011.  I decanted this one to two hours before we tasted it and this bottle continued to develop throughout the evening.  There were concentrated flavors of textured red fruit that were fresh but serious.  There was a good mouth feel and strong expansion.

Lou and Aaron

Current Releases From D. Ventura, Ribeira Sacra

December 16, 2011 Leave a comment

Ladder for Grapes in the Amandi, Image by Dominique Roujou de Boubee (flickr)

This week we continued drinking the wines of Ribeira Sacra by opening these three bottles from D. Ventura. Ribeira Sacra is divided into five sub-zones: Chantada, Amandi, Ribeiras do Mino, Ribeiras do Sil-Ourense, and Quiroga-Bibei.  These wines are made from fruit sourced from three different locations.  The wines are imported by De Maison Selections and distributed in my area by Bacchus Importers Ltd.  The approximate retail prices are $18 for the Vino do Burato, $20 for the Pena do Lobo, and $25 for the Vina Caneiro.

Mino, Ribeira Sacra, Image from Jaula de Ardilla (Flickr Creative Commonds)

All three of these wines are great fun to taste together.  For current drinking they all need 2-3 hours of air.  The Vina Caneiro was our favorite but I suspect this will become better with 1-2 years of age.  The Pena do Loba will drink will over the next several years.  I initially did not care as much for the Vina do Burato but it grew on me on the second night.  This will drink over the short-term and could stand six months of aging.  If you only need one bottle then buy the Vina Caneiro otherwise buy all three to drink with your friends.

2010 D. Ventura, Vina do Burato, Ribeira Sacra
This wine is 100% Mencia sourced from 80+ year old vines grown on higher-elevation terraces with slate soil.  The vineyard is located in Ribeiras do Mino where the soils are more fertile. The grapes were fermented in temperature controlled stainless steel.  The flavors tilt more towards sour pomegranate with ample acidity.  This tastes fresh and pure with no noticeable tannins.  On the second night it becomes riper, with good body, pleasing minerals, and slighty incensed aftertaste. *** Now.

2009 D. Ventura, Pena do Lobo, Ribeira Sacra
This wine is 100% Mencia sourced from 80+ year old vines grown on higher-elevation terraces with granite soil.  The vineyard is located in Ribeiras do Sil-Ourense further from the river and in a less steep area.  The grapes were fermented in temperature controlled stainless steel.  There is a very red nose of cranberry and raspberry aromas.  In the mouth the tart fruit is reminiscent of cranberry and pomegranate with good initial weight, then fades off a bit in the finish.  With air the wine balances out and puts on a ripe character.  On the second day the brighter cranberry and raspberry fruit was joined midpalate by dark red berries and dusty, minerally, concentration.  It became a bit muscular with well-integrated underlying acidity. *** Now-2015.

2009 D. Ventura, Vina Caneiro, Ribeira  Sacra
This wine is 100% Mencia sourced from 80+ year old vines grown on Lousa slate soil.  The vineyard is located in Amandi on steep terraces next to the river.  The grapes were fermented in temperature controlled stainless steel using indigenous yeasts.  This was best the first night but perhaps that is due to us only leaving a partial glass for the second night!  It was prickly and lively on the tongue with ripe cranberry and raspberry flavors which were sweeter than the Pena do Lobo.  There is pure acidity in this wine with flavors that turn to tart red fruit mixed with spices.  With air this wine becomes rich and flavorful. ***(*) 2014-2017.

Sil, Ribeira Sacra, Image by Juan Chamorro (flickr)

The Finely Textured 2006 Bibei, Lalama, Ribeira Sacra

December 14, 2011 2 comments

I first experienced a wine from Ribeira Sacra when we drank an excellent bottle of 2007 D. Ventura, Vina Caneiro earlier this year.  We had already drunk a fair amout of Mencia from Bierzo and were thrilled to enjoy Mencia from Ribeira Sacra.  I recently purchased four more wines from this ancient, mountainous region one from Dominio do Bibei and three from D. Ventura.  This selection from Dominio do Bibei is imported by De Maison Selections and distributed in my area by Bacchus Importers Ltd.  It retails for $35.  This is a wine which I recommend that you try.  While I am inclined to cellar it for the short-term you may enjoy this now after 2-3 hours of air.

The Winery, Image from Dominio do Bibei (flickr)

Dominio do Bibei is owned by Javier Dominguez and his wife Maria.  The winemaker Laura Lorenzo works with Suso Prieto Perez.  There is consulting input from Sara Perez & Rene Barbier, Jr, of Mas Sorrer and Venus la Universal.  This 127 hectare estate contains 45 hectares of vines.  There are many vines over 50 years of age.  New plots are being planted with cuttings from the old vines.  This gravity fed winery employs only oak and cement in the production of wine.

Terraced Vineyard, Image from Dominio do Bibei (flickr)

This wine is a blend of 85% Mencia, 7% Garnacha Tintorera, with the remaining 8% Brancellao and Mouraton.  The grapes are sourced from vines 15-100 years of age.  The terraced soils are a combination of mostly slate and some clay and located at 300-640 meters.  The fruit is fermented with indigenous yeast in open barrels and foudres then aged on the lees for 21 months in foudre and 1-3 year old French oak barrels.  There is  a further 18 months of bottle aging before release.

2006 Bodega Dominio do Bibei, Lalama, Ribeira Sacra
There is a good nose followed by a mouth of red fruit with waves of acidity.  This balanced wine is finely made with flavors of dark red berries, raspberry, and minerally dust.  With air the expansive fruit has a fine texture with flavors of floral black fruit in the finish.  The long aftertaste contains dark red berries.  It was a pleasure to drink.  This wine is slow to unveil and could use a few more years of age. **(**) 2015-2020.

One Wine From Ribeira Sacra and One From the Loire

September 3, 2011 Leave a comment

These bottles were purchased from MacArthur’s.  The D. Ventura ran $15 and the Salvard $13.  I reviewed the 2007 D. Ventura, Vina Caneiro back in May, 2011 and found it to be a lovely wine.  This bottle of Vina do Burato was OK and perhaps not up to snuff since it was downright bad on the second night.  The Salvard is appropriately priced and would be good to drink when it is hot outside.

2007 D. Ventura, Vina do Burato, Ribeira Sacra
This wine has a petulent nose of tart/acidic red fruit and notes of butter.  In the mouth the hard red fruits are delivered with a good mouthfeel then the flavors become thinner and the fruit becomes blacker.  It is very light in tannins with a moderately juicy finish.  It was not so good and fell apart on the second night. * Now.

2009 Domaine du Salvard, Cheverny, Loire
This wine is a blend of 55% Pinot Noir, 43% Gamay, and 2% Cot.  This wine has a peppery nose.  In the mouth the sour purple fruits are enlivened by decent acidity.  There is a good vein of purple flavor that runs through the wine that leaves your tongue salivating and lips coated.  This is a summer wine that I would drink now. ** Now.

2007 D. Ventura, Vina Caneiro, Ribeira Sacra

Ribeira Sacra, Map from De Maison Selections Inc.

D. Ventura is a project by Ramon Losada using old family vineyards.  All of three wines come from only three hectares in Ribeira Sacra Denominacion de Orixe (DO).  This DO is located in north-west Spain in Galicia and was granted in 1997.  Ribeira Sacra translates as “Sacred Shore” and is named after the old monasteries founded in the river valleys between the 8th and 12th centuries. The terraces, known as bancadas, were originally carved out by the Romans.   This is a rather isolated area as there are few roads. The old Roman Bridge, El Punete Bibei, that was built in 115 AD is still in use today.  The wines from the valley were typically sold up river to bars and restaurants in the city of Lugo.  They were shipped in barrel by boat.

El Puente Bibei, Photograph by Fanny Bueno

Ramon Losada’s family have been producing wine for centuries.  Ramon is a veterinarian who works in the vineyards during the weekends.  He produces three wines: Vina du Burato, Pena do Lobo, and Vina Caneiro.  The Vina Caneiro comes from the steepest vineyard in the Amandi area, next to the river Sil.  The estate follows organic principles.  This vineyard exists on pure slate.  The grapes are harvested by hand and indigenous yeasts start fermentation (so other yeasts are added later).

Vina Caneiro, Image from De Maison Selections Inc.

These are some seriously steep vineyards!!!

Vina Caneiro, Image from De Maison Selections Inc.

This wine is 100% Mencia and aged in stainless steel.  The label alludes to the steeply terraced vineyards.  This wine was recently available at MacArthur’s for $22.

2007 D. Ventura, Vina Caneiro, Ribeira Sacra
This wine has a medium nose of black, saline fruits.  In the mouth there are fresh, grippy red flavors that are scented in delivery.  It puts on weight in the mouth with air.  There are tart, red fruits, lavender, and persistent flavors all the way through the aftertaste.  There is a chewy quality to the fruit and a dark, expanding aftertaste.  This wine is just beginning to enter its second phase of life.  i would grab a couple of bottles, try one now and cellar the rest for a couple of years.  This Mencia is definitely different from what is produced in Bierzo!  ***(*) 2014-2017.

For further information and great photographs, check out these two great NY Times articles.  The Steep Ascent for Ribeira Sacra in The Diners Journal Blog and Wines from Ribeira Sacra in Spain Are Earning Praise in The Pour.