What's New in August
Today Galicia represents some of the greatest potential for transforming the landscape of Spanish wine. The identity of this place alone challenges the preconceived notions of Spain as a country. The climate (cool for the most part) and the people (of Celtic decent) are not what we picture when we think of Spain, yet they are a very important part of the Spanish identity. The same goes for the wines. Albariño, Godello, Mencía and Treixadura were not words that were a part of our wine diction 20 years ago, yet today they are redefining Spain’s diverse viticultural identity.
In the past people drank Galician wines in their youth because they were made without the future in mind. Today, through innovations by talented winemakers with a forward vision, we are discovering that these grapes are not only very complex but also have capacity to improve with age.
We know that our Galician wines are better with a year of bottle age. Last year everybody was asking for the new release of Do Ferreiro in July. When it came in the fall, it arrived with a vengeance. Searing acidity was what I remember in the wine... a very youthful, yet unresolved wine. This 2007 vintage still has that great grip but has begun to round out and develop complexity.
Gerardo Mendez of Do Ferreiro is changing the concept of Albariño from a light, fruity wine that is consumed early to a complex wine that needs time to expand and reveal itself. What does Gerardo Mendez do differently to accomplish this effect?
Gerardo achieves exquisite balance in his wines by working very closely with his land. He avoids any pollutants and maintains clonal diversity on these old sites. In the winery Gerardo coaches out all the complexity of each site (he farms 10 different sites to date) through the use of indigenous yeast and long aging on the lees. All of his efforts result in wines with great flavors and great structure, wines that demand time.
Gerardo continues to expand his ideas in this direction and we concur with him. Our intention is that instead of releasing the 2008 too early we will release it at the beginning of 2010. This will bode well for the 2008 Albariño since a part of it comes from the famous Cepas Vellas vineyard. There will be no Cepas Vellas in 2008. Because of the addition of this great site and the extended aging on the lees, this wine is demanding time to unfold. As of my last tasting in June, the wine was brooding and intense.
Our 2009 Cocktail Contest is underway. We want your original Sherry Cocktail recipes, please email them to us. The winner will receive a hand painted porron from this year's guest artist: Mike Jakob of the Elliot Street Deli & Pub in Atlanta, Georgia.
In the Press
From The New York Times
In the July 15, 2009 edition of the New York Times Eric Asimov recounts his recent trip to Ribeira Sacra in his article In Spain, These Hills Are Alive (Again!). He finds Ribeira Sacra to be an ancient wine region where until just recently grapes where just another subsistence crop and wines where only made in the basement to be drank in the kitchen.
It is the potential for making great wine that is bringing the 21st century to a region that has barely come to terms with entering the 20th, and has brought Ribeira Sacra to a winemaking crossroads. Here in this isolated region, so obscure it is little known even in the rest of Galicia, the potential for distinction comes from the combination of indigenous grapes, the slate and granite soils, the peculiar microclimates of the rivers and terraces, and the human determination to make singular wines.
Mr. Asimov speaks with some of the winemakers who are shaping the face of Ribeira Sacra including Ramón from D. Ventura. Ramón represents the old guard of winemakers in the area, people who don't make a living from wine but just makes wine for the love of it.
“I make money on the wine, but not enough to live on, which gives me the freedom to make wine however I want,” Mr. Losada said. “Some urge me to change, but I won’t.”
From The Wall Street Journal
Dorothy J. Gaiter and John Brecher of the Wall Street Journal share their notes from a Muscadet tasting in their July, 13 article From France, a Refreshing Steal. They found this underappreciated wine to be a great accompaniment to seafood and one of the best white wine values around. They chose the Chéreau Carré Château de la Chesnaie as one of their favorites of the tasting.
Château de la Chesnaie (Chéreau-Carré). Very Good. Best value (tie). Ripe, fresh and clean, with a very tasty roundness. Mouth-popping, with fresh, ripe citrus and tart and fleshy kiwis and lychees. Balanced and very easy to pair with food.
Visit the Wall Street Journal Online to read the full article.
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