Telmo Rodriguez Gaba do Xil Mencia 2014
Telmo & his long term amigo and business partner Pablo Eguzkiza are up there with the most inspiring pioneering viticulturists in Spain today. For 30 years they have been kicking wine goals together… trained as winemakers at University of Bordeaux and in France’s finest including Clape and Chave and then they worked together in the late 1980s at Telmo’s family Rioja estate, Remelluri.
With the philosphy of organic and biodynamic vineyard practices they have rediscovered, replanted locally evolved grape varieties and clones (often as field blends) to best sites. Thankfully a world away from the Franco era trend to rip out old vines and replant high cropping, low cost varieties to produce industrial ooze! This was the norm and has plagued La Rioja until the new wave of winemakers have stepped up.
La Compania de Vinos Telmo Rodriguez started in 1992 with a modest Navarra Garnacha. That same year they bought their first parcel of land the Falcoiera Mencia vineyard in Valdeorras and set about exploring Spain with the intention to re-discover, re-interpret and re-invent. Over time, they found parcels to work all over Spain. Rediscovery of history has taken place since the 90s by replanting indigenous grapes like mencia (pulled out during Spanish civil war under Franco and replaced in fertile valleys with Palomino a high cropping low cost bland grape variety).
This beautiful wine reveals Mencia’s best attributes. Fruit is sourced from organically grown vineyards located in Valdeorras (an old gold mining region took it’s name from the old Roman name Valley of Ore) the easternmost wine area of Galicia just north of Portugal with Ribeira Sacra to west and neighbouring Bierzo to East.
In Valdeorras, climate is continental Atlantic and possibly the perfect natural place for Mencia – enough solar energy to ripen tannin but cool enough with cold nights to preserve natural acidity. Altitude is 300 to 500 metres. Gaba ( in Basque means ‘evening’ because if was late in the day when Telmo first set foot in this steep valley) This Mencia is a delicious harmony of red fruits, earth and the countryside – its minimally handled and oaked.
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