2018 Laura Lorenzo – Daterra Viticultores, Tabernario Tinto, Ribeira Sacra, Galicia Spain.
One of my favorites and a heroic winegrower, Laura Lorenzo of Daterra Viticultores, based in the remote Ribeira Sacra, which means “Sacred Banks” in Gallego, the local Galician dialect, is making some amazing wines and her 2018s look set to take her fame to the next level, like her latest Tabernario Tinto with its beautiful texture, bright flavors and mineral details that make it drink as fine as a Premier Cru Burgundy. Made from old vine parcels of 60% Mencía, 30% Alicante Bouschet and 10% Palomino, the white grape that is co-fermented into this wine, not all that different than traditional Cote-Rotie, all sourced from Lorenzo’s organic vines in Amandi and Val do Bibei, both sleep river valley locations set on primarily granite soils with a covering of sand and some loams. The Tabernario was only bottling I haven’t tried yet from Laura since she started her own label in 2014 and I was thrilled with the transparent dark fruited profile with layers of Mencia led characteristics showing black cherry, wild plum, cranberry and tart currant fruits, fresh garden herbs, star anise, crushed stones, a touch of leathery earth and light cedar as well as delicate floral tones. The Ribeira Sacra, a favorite of the Romans, who came to this green, northwest corner of the Iberian Peninsula more than 2,000 years ago and were the first to plant and terrace the slopes to grape vines, almost forgotten in modern times due to the harsh working conditions this place is now one of the wine world’s most exciting places.
This light medium bodied Tabernario red has the charm of Cru Beaujolais, like Fleurie especially with its pretty details and a bit of northern Rhone crunchiness and game, even though as mentioned above this vintage has a satiny feel that reminds me of a Pinot. Lorenzo is committed to holistic and natural methods in the vineyards and in her cellar looking to capture the purest form of terroir and of the vineyard, she works with indigenous or wild yeast exclusively and mostly whole cluster with elevage in only used well seasoned oak casks of various sizes and does no adjustments other that the absolute minimum dose of SO2, all unfined and unfiltered. The 2018 vintage was not kind to Lorenzo and she lost a huge amount of grapes to severe weather, but she persevered and crafted a beauty with this Tabernario which was harvested by hand in early September and was 50% whole bunches and 50% de-stemmed then skin-macerated for 10 days with spontaneous fermentation in large 500L & 1000L chestnut barrels with this wine being raised for 11 months in cask before its bottling. The Ribeira Sacra is a cool Atlantic zone with granitic, schist and slate soils predominating here in a region that looks more like Germany’s river wine growing areas than most of Spain, which helps to explain Laura’s wines that have lower alcohols, this one is just 12%, and that are highly aromatic, zesty, quaffable and elegant in style. The Daterra offerings are wildly addictive and unique, I highly recommend checking them out!
($30 Est.) 92 Points, grapelive