2017 Laura Lorenzo – Daterra Viticultores, Azos de Vila, Vino Tinto de Manzaneda, Ribeira Sacra, Spain.
Laura Lorenzo is one of the Ribeira Sacra’s rockstars and her wines, like this Azos de Vila vino tinto village cuvée is a field blend of red varieties that includes local varietals, some unknown outside this remote region, these being Mouraton, Mencía, Garnacha Tintorera, Merenzao and Gran Negro that were organically farmed on the almost impossible steep slopes above the Sil River on a mix of Granite, Gneiss, Clay, Slate and Schiste soils. This Galician red is like nothing you’d expect from Spain, it’s an amazing wine that takes cues from the Northern Rhone, the Loire and even Burgundy with dark fruits, loads of mineral, spice and racy acidity in an elegant medium bodied frame. This 2017 vintage of the old vine Azos de Vila comes from many Pueblos including the tiny villages of Seoane, Soutipedre, Langullo, San Vicenzo that make up part of Manzaneda, all from plots, average between 80 to 120 years old, are within the Val do Bibei, which is part of the Quiroga-Bibei subzone, where the cool Atlantic influences collide with the continental climate. This 2017 is beautiful ruby/garnet in the glass with a slightly earth note rising up and quickly fading into delicate floral notes on the nose with hints of herbs and flinty spices that leads to a gorgeous layering of peony flowers, sweet plums, cherry, tangy currant and cranberry in the mouth with lifted acidity, fine mineral tones and a hint of amaro. This wine is just so real and pretty, especially after it opens up and loses the reduction with elements that remind me of Anjou, Fleurie and Saint-Joseph and the 12.5% natural alcohol keeps things vivid and lighter, this is special stuff.
This black and red fruited red shows off the year in transparent detail, it was a warm and dry summer, with all the grapes being hand-harvested in early September by Laura and her crew it what can be best described as back-breaking work, then in the cellar they were partially de-stemmed, with a small bit of whole bunches included and fermented, as Lorenzo notes, using indigenous yeasts in used chestnut and French oak barrels with a two week maceration, after which she then raised the Azos de Vila for 12 months in the same barrels. Bottling was as normal here done without fining or filtration to show the absolute purest of form and Lorenzo, who like Lapierre in Morgon, only employs the lowest amount of sulphur as possible, making her wines taste naturally fresh and authentically raw. Laura Lorenzo was the winemaker and viticulturist at the Ribeira Sacra estate Dominio do Bibei for close to a decade, where she put their wines on the map, before she struck out on her own with her project, creating Daterra Viticultores in 2014. Lorenzo also did influential stints internationally and worked with the iconic Eben Sadie in South Africa at the world famous Sadie Family Winery and she also was Achaval Ferrer in Argentina, both of which had an impact on her wines, contributing to the cult like following these truly hand crafted wines at Daterra Viticultores have achieved.
($40 Est.) 94 Points, grapelive