I’ve got a thing for indigenous varietals. Varietals that have neared extinction, but some romantic, talented winemaker has decided to come in and replant them for the love of the region, the land, the terruño! That’s the kind of shit that gets me excited about wine. This is happening slowly but surely in Galicia, where a number of cool winemakers are ripping out vines like Palamino Fino, Tempranillo and even Mencía (yep) for varietals that reach full potential in the soils and steep slopes of the region. And if we are going to touch on this subject, which we are- A LOT- we’ve got to start with the main man of Ribeiro- Luis Rodriguez.
Luis Rodriguez operates out of a village called Arnoia, in the Ribeiro region of Galicia. He was born and raised in this village, so he knows the land like the back of his hand. Collectively he has about 5 hectares (about 12 acres) in various plots on steep hillsides. Luis basically took it upon himself to revamp the Ribeiro region’s red wine game. He plants to varietals like Caiño Longo, Ferrol, Souson and Brancellao…and if none of these sound familiar to you, don’t worry…for now just knock back the wine and enjoy the fruits of his labor.
The wines are legit. A favorite is the Viña de Martin “Escolma”. It’s mostly Treixadura, with Godello, Albariño and Loureiro making up the rest. He only makes the “Escolma” in exceptional vintages. It spends time in various sizes of French oak barrels, 12 month on the lees and then another 36 months in bottle. It’s a generous, full bodied beast with a ton of minerality and acidity. It knocks the socks off most of the white Burgundies I’ve tried (or can afford), pairs with rich seafood and poultry. I drank it in Spain with a tortilla Española and some Galician cheese. On point.
Right now, strictly for research, I’m drinking the 2013 “A Teixa”. Mostly Treixadura with a little Godello and Albariño. It’s super fresh, a little honeyed but dry and salty on the finish. Not a powerhouse like the “Escolma”, but it’s no shrinking violet. It makes me want to run from the mountains to the beach with some flowers in my hair and a freshly killed crab in my backpack…if it ever stops raining. If reds are more your thing, check out the “Eidos Ermos”. Caiño, Brancellao, Souson, and Ferrol make up this aromatic, medium bodied blend. Savory, vegetal, dignified. Great with food. Get ya some.
Blogged at: Little Gem, SF. Arlequin, SF.
Soundtrack: Kendrick Lamar, Untitled Unmastered