Ribeira Sacra

2021 Algueira Mencia Joven

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Technical Attributes
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Tasting Notes

This opens with whole-bunch spice, an explosion of red fruits and mixed herb aromas leading to a vibrant, textured yet racy palate with strawberry, red jube and white pepper fruit. The texture is Pinot-like but with a lovely, spicy, anise and graphite-scented finish that is so Algueira. In some ways it reminds of a young Saumur red from a top producer.

Winemakers Note

Algueira's entry-level Mencía is drawn from the Estate's younger Mencía vines, which cling to Ribeira Sacra's precipitous slate and shist slopes that rise from to the river Sil. Where Algueira’s premium releases are whole bunch fermented and aged in oak, this the grapes for this early release are destemmed and raised in stainless steel. It fermented with indigenous yeasts, with 15 to 20 days of maceration.

The idea is to craft and immediately enjoyable introduction to Algueira’s Ribeira Sacra Mencia. 

If anyone has earned the right to call their wine hand-crafted, the new pioneers of Ribeira Sacra (which acquired DO status in just 1996) must be at the head of the queue. However, even before the creation of this idyllic and isolated Galician DO, Algueira’s Fernando González and Ana Perez had begun purchasing and restoring vineyards abandoned here by the end of the 19th century. Phylloxera, followed by recession and civil war had brought rack and ruin to these once-proud, ancient vineyards. Thanks to growers like Algueira, new energy has bloomed in Ribeira Sacra.

The first step to crafting wines of genuine authenticity was to rebuild the terraces, or solcacos, that were carved by the Romans into the rocky valleys banking the Sil, Miño and Bibei Rivers. Not only have the founding Algueira team painstakingly resurrected these abandonados, but they have also demonstrated their land and practice as capable of producing wines that bear comparison with the very best of Europe. From humble beginnings, González and Pérez now tend 20 hectares of vines. Today they are joined by son Fabio González Riveiro and young winemaker David Pascual.

“These [Ribera Sacra reds] are lively, graceful wines, with the same sort of aromatic loveliness and lissome body that draws people to Burgundy and Barolo.” Eric Asimov

The vineyards are based in Ribera Sacra’s prestigious Amandi subzone, where vertiginous slopes of slate and schist rise like staircases from the river Sil. In places, these terraces are so dizzyingly steep that they make the hillsides of Côte-Rôtie look like nursery slopes. Algueira’s white varieties shine in the cooler Ribeira del Sil sub-region on soils of gneiss and quartz. Due to the extreme nature of the sites, cultivation is painstakingly slow. Now largely biodynamic, these practices sometimes mean the numbers don’t add up, however, González believes the wines deserve every effort.

Mencía is Algueira’s paragon variety, producing aromatic wines of silky balance, clarity, and mineral resonance. González was also an early champion of Ribeira Sacra’s native grapes, and to this day makes Spain’s most exciting Merenzao, a variety with close links to Jura’s Trousseau. Algueira’s more sheltered, gneiss and quartz-laden slopes are devoted to Godello, Albariño and Treixadura, which yield some of Galicia’s most limpid, crystalline whites. Whatever the variety, every sip taken from these wines has the potential to profoundly change many drinkers’ perceptions of Spanish wine.

Delivery Details

Marketplace Product: Dispatch from Sydney warehouse in approximately 8 business days. Vintages may vary for Marketplace items. Generally, the latest available vintage will be delivered to you.

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