Guimaro Mencia Tinto 2022

Guimaro Mencia Tinto 2022

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Press 4 Red • June 2024 Direct Press Selection

Cultivated since Roman times, Ribeira Sacra’s steep terraced vineyards are some of the most picturesque and treacherous to work in the world of wine – think of the Douro, Cote Rotie, or the Mosel. Like those most dramatic terruños, winegrowing here is not for the faint of heart; it takes spirited determination, eternal optimism, a sense of tradition, and a willingness to collaborate.  Pedro Rodríguez of Adegas Guímaro embodies all of these qualities.

Pedro descends from a long line of winegrowers working in the Amandi area, Ribeira Sacra’s most prime subzone of south facing vineyards planted on local Losa slate, just above the river Sil. The previous generation, his parents Manolo and Carmen, still work with him in the vines.  The family also maintains a small finca of mixed agriculture, very common in Galicia, raising chickens, rabbits, pigs, and cultivating a sizable vegetable patch near the adega (winery) which the family built in 1991.

Before 1991, Pedro’s family produced small quantities of wine for their own consumption and sold their wine in garrafones - 20-liter glass containers - to local cantinas. Like other traditional winemaking regions of inland Galicia, the area was in steep decline until the early 1990s. The terraced vineyards are difficult and expensive to work, but the grapes and wines did not demand a high price on the market. Many small farmers left, either emigrating from Spain or to the cities: the local province of Lugo lost nearly half of its residents between 1940 and the 2020. The result was widespread abandonment of prime vineyard land. But the establishment of the D.O. has steadily reversed the area’s decline, as viticultores have collaborated to recover the region’s vineyards, restore the area’s reputation for quality wines, and create a new future for Ribeira Sacra.

This Mencía is from many plots of vines around Ribeira Sacra with an average age of 40 years old. The soils are slate, granite, and sand and the wine is fermented and raised in stainless steel tank.

Tasting notes:  A humble, balanced, and versatile wine whose easy profile belies a lot of beauty and careful winemaking craft. Plump and ripe, with blueberry and black cherry. There is a nice mix of tarragon, tomato leaf, and herbal notes to keep it from crossing the line into something hot and heavy, as many Mencia are want to do as temperatures and alcohol levels climb with climate change. Jonathan Kemp

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