What's New in August

Galicia: The Loire Valley of Spain

I’ve got “Galicia on my mind”.

This region is finally coming into focus for us, as several projects that we have been nurturing are coming to fruition.

In the last several years, whenever I’ve tasted wines from the Loire valley, my mind would wander to the similarities with Galicia. I always hesitate in comparing one region in one country to another for fear of diminishing the importance of the region in focus, but this French connection has been intriguing me for awhile (chalk it up to my French heritage).

Anyway, in June this year, I went to the Loire to visit one of my good friends in Nantes, Bernard Chereau of Chereau Carre. As I traveled through the interior and along the Loire I kept seeing the similarities between the two regions. From the inland sections to the maritime influenced areas to the rivers that flow through both regions, the comparison becomes inevitable. Both are inherently cooler climates of their respective countries with plenty of rainfall. The result is a wealth of great agricultural products.

These similarities became crystal clear, as I tasted an incredible new project from Bernard from a single vineyard of old vines Melon grown on granite soils and aged 31 months on the lees. It reminded me vividly of Old Vines Albariño from DO Ferreiro.

Have no fear. I’m not saying that we’re comparing “apples to apples” here. There are still plenty of differences. The most obvious being that the grapes are different and that Galicia is a much warmer climate (this is Spain after all!). The other major difference is that for Galicia, all is new in wine. One of the biggest struggles in my search for producers in this area of Spain is finding properties that are focused on their intent and have a modern approach to wine. Even though Galicia has thousands of years of history in winemaking traditions, poverty and isolation has kept it well behind in the modern wine world.

This is all changing today as people slowly begin to discover the potential of this region.

Of the five DO’s in Galicia, we now represent four fantastic producers from four separate areas. It all started with DO Ferreiro (not a bad way to begin!). It now includes the infamous wine of Emilio Rojo, A Coroa in Valdeorras and finally D. Ventura in Ribeira Sacra.

I invite you to taste these wines with the Loire valley connection just in the back of your mind.

More on our new producers:

A Coroa, Godello 2005, Valdeorras
Grown primarily on slate soils bordering the river Sil, this is fascinating wine produced by the Angel Lopez family in the heart of Valdeorras in A Rua. Having been involved in supplying most of the area with vines though their nursery business; Angel and his family began a project in 2000 to produce their own wine from several parcels of their native grape, Godello. Using the latest technological means, yet also looking to respect the traditions of the past, they have fashioned a complex and compelling wine that shows the great potential of this grape.

D. Ventura, Viña Caneiro 2005, Ribeira Sacra
So continues our trek through Galicia. Ribeira Sacra means “Sacred Banks” and from these banks vineyards thrust into the sky. Terraces cut by the Romans and covered with a type of slate called Louza. This is Mencia in all its glory. Ramon Losada owns three incredible parcels of very old vines. Only this year with the assistance of Gerardo Mendez (DO Ferreiro) has he released his first wine.

Both wines are limited.

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