Mencía In Depth: New Releases From Guímaro

4/4/13 -


Mencía first gained respect as a gateway to Spanish wine for lovers of young, juicy, high-acid reds. This offering highlights the deeper, more sumptuous side of Mencía, exemplified by the stunning single vineyard bottlings from Guímaro. The Amandi subzone of Galicia's Ribeira Sacra is home to precipitous, south-facing slate slopes, where Pedro Rodriguez and his parents farm 8 hectares organically. Prior to the formation of the Ribeira Sacra D.O. in 1997, Rodriguez's family sold most their wine for consumption at local cantinas. The emergence of the appellation spurred Guímaro ("rebel" in the local Gallego dialect) to eliminate chemical treatments and attend to the nuances of their terroir, resulting in bold, balanced grapes and increasingly spirited wines of place.

Low yields and back-wrenching vineyard work mean every bunch of fruit is precious and every wine expressive of its soil, age, and aspect. Mencía displays range reminiscent of Gamay to some palates and Cabernet Franc to others; some wines reveal aromas and earth that harken to Syrah. Such comparisons are helpful introductions, but fail to illustrate the unique character within and interplay between these wines. The proliferation of serious interest in artisanal Spanish wines allows us to extend the exploration of single-parcel expressions from our favorite growers in Beaujolais, the Loire, and the Rhône to regions like Galicia, Manchuela, the Duero, and beyond. Aside from the immediate pleasure of drinking incredibly flavorful and well-made wines, there is nothing more rewarding than the chance to peek at a carefully tended patchwork of vines through the tastes and textures in our glass.

Guímaro's whites are based on Godello, another Galician variety capable of deep and myriad expression. Fleshy and supple, chiseled and sleek, silken and earthy — all of these combinations are possible. It is a great joy to engage with the range of Godellos that have become available to us and Guímaro's are no exception. The new vintage of the textured, spicy, skin-contacted GBG has arrived alongside a limited new cuvèe, the airy, delicate, and herbal 2011 Joven Blanco. -AR

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