Located in the green, cool Northwest of Spain, just above the Northeast corner of Portugal, Ribeira Sacra lies along the banks of the river Sil, and in the case of this wine, the vineyard is so steep that a ladder is necessary to go from terrace to terrace. Similar to another recent success story in Spain, Priorat, the vineyards that had first been planted by the Romans had been almost completely abandoned after the combined pummeling of the phyloxera louse in the late 19th century, the great depression, the civil war and dictatorship. Unlike Priorat, whose grapes (Grenache and Carignan) are widely recognized, Ribeira Sacra uses indigenous grapes that have only recently been gaining international attention. I predict, however, that ten years from now every wine enthusiast will know and love Mencia, the grape used in this masterpiece. In this region, with these old vines, it produces a wine of Burgundian complexity and elegance, but with bit more body. Biodynamic farming, heroic hand harvesting, foot treading, native yeast fermentation, significant use of whole clusters, long, neutral oak aging--what’s not to love?
(Somm Tip: We’ve stashed a case, so if you like this you should hurry and get yours before prices go through the roof or we sell out of our allotment.)