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*Offsite events are contracted to and coordinated by a 3rd party, and are in no way affiliated with Chambers Street Wines.
Alberto Nanclares and his wife moved to Castrelo, near Cambados, in Rias Baixas in 1992. The retired economist loves the sea and sailing, and wanted to spend more time on and near the ocean. There was a bit of vineyard land near their new home, and eventually Alberto started farming the grapevines and set up a little winery in the garage. Initially farming conventionally (like the vast majority of his neighbors in the wet climate of Rias Baixas), he began to explore organic farming. While he orignally worked with an oenologist to make the wines, in 2007 he took over the winemaking entirely, moving towards a low-intervention approach in the cellar. In 2015 Silvia Prieto came on board, assisting Alberto in the cellar and the vineyard.
Today, Alberto Nanclares and Silvia Prieto are pioneers of organic and biodynamic winegrowing in Rias Baixas and make some of the most serious and inspired Albariño wines in the world. It seems clear that this success is the result of a steady evolution in the cellar and in the vineyard towards careful organic agriculture with biodynamic practices and thoughtful low-intervention winemaking.
From a few vines by Alberto Nanclares's house by the sea, the pair now diligently farm two-and-a-half hectares of scattered plots of pergola trained Albariño around Cambados to produce a range of wines, including serious single vineyard wines from very old vineyards. Yields are kept low, seaweed from the nearby Atlantic is used as fertilizer, and there is no plowing. The same care and attention is taken in the cellar, where Alberto and Silvia avoid additives (other than small amounts of SO2), ferment with indigenous yeasts, and neither fine nor filter the wines.
2019 was a very difficult year that emphasizes the struggles of organic agriculture in a humid maritime climate. Spring was troublesome, with variable weather, and culminated in catastrophic losses due to mildew in May. The surviving fruit, was, however blessed with a mild summer and a pleasant autmn. As a result, quantites are very reduced compared to previous years (and there never was very much!), and only one single vineyard wine (A Graña) was made. But these wines are outstanding, pure, crystalline in structure, and suited to aging. I wish there was more to go around, but I'm delighted by their beauty.
All wines will be in store by Monday, March 1st.
Thank you to Liz Fayad and Jose Pastor Selections for the information about these wines.
Alberto Nanclares and Silvia Prieto produce very special wines from 5 hectares of Albariño in the Val do Salnés, near Cambados, in Rias Baixas. These vineyards are worked organically, a rarity in rainy, cool Rias Baixas, and very traditionally, with the vines still trained in the overhead pergola style and all farming done entirely by hand. Alberto and Silvia are also very hands off in the cellar: fermenting with native yeasts, neither fining nor filtering, and adding only small amounts of sulfur. Tempus Vivendi comes from vineyards near Sanxenxo, south of Cambados. The grapes are crushed, fermented with indigenous yeasts, blended, and aged for 7 months on the lees, 75% in stainless steel and 25% in used barrels. Despite the difficult vintage, the 2019 is an outstanding expression of Albariño, showing notes of lime, white flowers, salt and peach skin on the nose. The palate is long, precise, and very mineral, showing peach, lime and salty stone.
From 3 plots of 25-95 year old vines in Sanxenxo, planted on granitic sands. The grapes are foot trodden in the cellar, before aging on the lees in a single 90-year-old chestnut barrel with lees for 9 months, with weekly batonnage for the first month. A bit rounder than Tempus Vivendi, this shows notes of lime, lemon, sea salt, and white flowers on the nose and plenty of salty minerality on the palate.
Alberto Nanclares and Sylvia Prieto are making expressive, exciting wines from Albarino and other local grapes in Rias Baixas. This wine is from multiple sites in Cambados on granitic and sandy soils. The vines range in age from 30 to 60 years, the wine is fermented with indigenous yeasts and raised in small tanks for close to a year. The 2019 is a classic expression of focused, acid-driven Albarino, with notes of lime, sea shell, and the slightest tinge of tropicality. An absolute favorite of the whole staff here. Ben Fletcher
The Albariño de Alberto Nanclares bottling hails from 8 plots of Albariño in and around Cambados, near Alberto Nanclares and Silvia Prieto’s cellar. Vines range in age from 15-45 years, and are planted on decomposed granitic sands. Like the Soverribas, the grapes are pressed whole-cluster and fermented with native yeasts then rest on the lees for 9 months, with weekly batonnage for the first month. The nose is delicate, showing sea air, lemon verbena, and stone, while the palate was very dry and mineral, with notes of salt, stone, and lemon skin.
The grapes for Soverribas are from 3 vineyards in the Meoño and Ribadumia subregions of Rias Baixas, ranging in vine age from 35-100 years. In the cellar, the grapes are pressed whole-cluster and fermented with native yeasts then rest on the lees for 9 months, with weekly batonnage for the first month. The nose is bright and delicately perfumed, with notes of lemon juice, sea salt, and apple blossoms, while the palate shows substantial mineral structure, citrus, stone, and salt.
The A Graña vineyard is in Sanxenxo, with 30-year-old Albariño vines planted on sandy granitic soils facing northeast. Alberto and Silvia harvest the grapes by hand, then press them whole cluster into a used 800L chestnut cask and small stainless-steel tank to age on the lees for 9 months with some bâtonnage before bottling without fining or filtering. Despite the difficult 2019 vintage, the small number of grapes that survived were quite perfect, and the 2019 A Graña is an outstanding representation of the Nanclares y Prieto style: angular, exceedingly mineral, with delicate orchard flower notes and a long, intensely salty palate.
Alberto Nanclares and Silvia Prieto make some of our favorite Albarinos. Recently, they've also been making some very interesting red wines from Rias Baixas (and also a small project in Ribeiro). A Senda Vermella hails from organically farmed plots of Caino and Mencia in Rias Baixas, around the villages of Cambados, Vilanova and Barro. 80% of the juice is from the 2018 harvest, picked in September, fermented whole-cluster, and aged in a blend of very old French oak barrels and stainless steel tanks. The other 20% comes from the 2017 vintage (far cooler than the 2018 vintage), which saw the same treatment and had aged on its lees in used barrels since the previous winter. Once united, the wine aged a further 9 months on its lees before being bottled without fining or filtering and with just a touch of SO2. The bottled wine rested for a further 10 months before release. This is outstanding: delicate, defined, and elegant. On the nose, plenty of crushed black pepper, delicate herbaceous notes, and crushed raspberry and blackberry. The palate is light and fresh, showing more Caino than Mencia: red berries, thyme, black pepper, around a mineral core. Complex, but so appealing that it disappears fast - qualities that this wine shares with the Nanclares y Prieto Albarinos. Ben Fletcher