Good Press

It has been an busy week for Iberian (and Iberian inspired)wines in the news.
Last week I wrote here about Ron Silva and his Alta Mesa Cellars Tempranillo and Verdelho varietal wines from his Silvaspoons vineyard in Galt CA. Only afterwards did I discover the in-depth article written two days earlier by Mike Dunne for the Sacramento Bee. Ron is a true wine pioneer in these parts and deserves the attention. You can read the article here and remember that we carry both his red Tempranillo ($14.99) and his white Verdelho ($12.99) here in the Berkeley store.
A customer from the East Coast alerted me to a piece in the Washington Post about the Douro wines from Portugal. Dave McIntyre has written a succinct article about the evolution in the Douro Valley, traditional home of Porto, toward more red and white table wines. He mentions several producers which we carry here including Niepoort, Quinta do Vale Dona Maria and Quinta do Vallado.
Several subscribers to this newsletter have kindly sent me links to Eric Asimov’s article this week in the New York Times on the subject of the Ribeira Sacra wines from Northwestern Spain. We have featured these wines at The Spanish Table since they first appeared in the market several vintages ago. These distinctive wines are starting to receive a well deserved bit of attention on a national level.
This week I have rounded up our current selection of DO Ribeira Sacra wines for you to consider. These are all excellent expressions of an ancient region that is only just beginning to renew its true potential. They are also some of my current favorite wines in the shop.
Guímaro Mencía 2007 The ancient terraced vineyards of Ribeira Sacra are so steep that boxes of freshly harvested fruit are hoisted on ropes up to the top of the hill, or, as is the case at Guímaro, lowered into boats on the River Sil below. Pedro Rodríguez is a young winemaker working to renew this long neglected region. The unoaked Guímaro Mencía, sourced from 40 year old vines, is fresh and lively with a touch of wild herb aroma. $14.99
Guímaro Viñas Viejas 2007 The oldest vines from the Guímaro estate are harvested exclusively for this wine that encapsulates the Ribeira Sacra style for pure, balanced aromas and flavors of tart berries and slatey minerality. $28.99
Alodio 2007 The young wine from Enología Thémera is 100% Mencía, fermented in tank and bottled without ageing in oak. Fresh peachy aroma and red berry fruit character give balance to underlying minerality. $14.99
Thémera 2005 Previous vintages of this 100% Mencía wine were more lean and barrel charactered (higher priced too). The 2005 vintage marks a distinct change in style toward a fresher more expressive wine. Still aged briefly in barrels of Acacia and cherrywood, Thémera is a finely tuned example of the Ribeira Sacra style. Sweet perfumed aroma and ripe berry fruit character balance gentle barrel tannins. $23.99
Viña do Burato 2007 Composed of 100% old vine Mencía from Ramón Losada’s Minho River vineyard, this light red is fresh and youthful with the dried leaf aroma that is typical of Mencía. This is the leanest of the D. Ventura wines and also the lowest in alcohol at a mere 12.5% ABV.$17.99
Peña do Lobo 2007 This wine, from a parcel on the Sil River vineyards is 100% Mencía from vines that are over 80 years old. This dark ruby colored wine is subtle and smooth. Silky mulberry fruit character balances background minerality. $19.99
Viña Caneiro 2007 The boldest of the D. Ventura wines, this exclusive bottling sourced from small plots of old vine Mencía grown on the steep slopes of the Sil River Valley is opulent and expressive while still retaining a fresh, lively balance of flavors. Notes of cranberry and pomegranate mingle with flinty minerality. This dark and abundant wine never veers into the overly extracted or the syrupy. It maintains a fine balance of flavors and a solid foundational structure. $24.99

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Filed under California, Portugal, Red Wine, Spain

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