What's New in September

The Red Wines of Galicia

In a recent article for Slate, Mike Steinberger wrote about the white wines of northern Spain, calling the region “a white-wine Valhalla.” All summer long we’ve been talking about our Txak Blok parties and our favorite Basque wine, and even Eric Asimov of the New York Times raved about Txakoli. With all of the hubbub around the great white wines of northern Spain it becomes easy to forget that these same regions produce some of Spain’s finest red wines. Between the Albariño of Rias Baixas and the Godello in Valdeorras you’ll find the steep, terraced Mencía vineyards of Ribeira Sacra.

The twisting rivers that meander through the region combine with steep slopes and a variety of soils to create many diverse sub-zones, each with its own terruño. Along the Miño river you’ll find the aptly-named Miño sub-zone, where the grapes for D. Ventura’s Viña do Burato grow. The abundance of streams and the more fertile soil here create wines that are light and floral. In the Amandi sub-zone along the Sil river you’ll find the iconic terraced vineyards comprised of slate and granite that bring out the deeper lush fruit and mineral overtones typical of the wines here, such as D. Ventura’s Pena do Lobo. Further up the Sil river you’ll find the Quiroga-Bibei subzone, home of Lalama and the other wines from Dominio do Bibei. The drier climate here imparts rounder and darker flavors to the wines.

Ribeira Sacra is a land with many faces. Every slope and twist of the river hides a new wonder waiting to be discovered. Each sub-zone has its own distinct character and each wine is a treasure in its own right.

D. Ventura Viña do Burato 2009
From Mencía vines that are over 80 years old, this light and fresh wine from the Miño sub-zone is fermented in stainless steel and bottled without further aging. Enjoy with some tapas and try it chilled for a refreshing treat.

D. Ventura Pena do Lobo 2009
Also from Mencía vines that are over 80 years old, this wine originates from some of the Amandi sub-zone’s higher-elevation vineyards at a site known as Doade. Fermented in stainless and bottled without further aging. Enjoy with cured pork or a homemade authentic Spanish tortilla.

Dominio do Bibei Lalama 2006
Made from a blend of Mencía with a small amount of Garnacha, Mouraton and the native varietal Brancellao. Fermented with indigenous yeast in open barrels and foudres and aged on the lees for 21 months, this wine is bottled unfined and unfiltered and is then aged in bottle for an additional 18 months. Try it with some grilled meat or the traditional staple of Galicia: empanadas.

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2010 Concoction Contest: Cider

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