2016 Guimaro, Camino Real, Ribeira Sacra DO, Galicia Spain.
Pedro Rodriguez’s Guimaro Camino Real from the Ribeiro Sacra D.O. is an old world, old school, old vine based red grown on the steep slopes above the Sil River in Spain’s historic and ancient Galicia wine region that has been around since Roman times. The Guímaro Camino Real is made From 6 hectare in Amandi planted primarily to 40 to 60 years old vine Mencía, along with other native Galician varieties. All of the grapes, according to the winery, were hand-harvested together and spontaneously fermented with 100% whole clusters in open-top oak vats with a 40 day maceration. Set on granite and sandy soils, the Camino plot is mostly bush vines in terraces at about 500 meters on these dramatic slate based hillsides. Half of this Mencia was raised in large foudre with the other half in used 225 & 500L French barrels for just about one year, and bottled without fining or filtration. Pedro Rodriguez, Guimaro’s owner, wine grower and winemaker is now one of the “Sacred Slopes” Ribeiro Sacra’s leading lights, he was mentored by the famed Raul Perez, and has an exceptional gift with Mencia, and I am left amazed that not more attention has been paid to them, as these are some of the most thrilling red wines in Spain. The 2016 Camino Real, a bottling that I have not had a chance to try yet, is a beautiful and soulful wine with subtle earthy tones and a racy/nervy edge, it reminds me of Lapierre Morgon (Cru Beaujolais) meets Alain Graillot Crozes-Hermitage, it has a juicy/natural feel and a hint of Northern Rhone character with vibrant fresh detail and peppery spices, it shows delicate floral notes and dark fruits with a mineral streak all in a medium bodied wine that came in at just 13% natural alcohol. There’s lots of intensity from start to finish on this one and it gains complexity and texture with air, in fact I loved it even more on day two when it picked up layers of wild plum, blueberry, cherry and briar laced black raspberry fruits, along with flinty stones, a hit of saline, game, minty herb, anise and dark walnut elements, all lifted by bright acidity. The air really allows pure terroir and an expressive personality to shine, Pedro is really getting everything right at Guimaro and this is a wine that excels in this vintage, also look for the Finca Meixemán (70 year old vines) and the Finca Capeliños (95+ year old vines) bottlings too, along with Guimaro’s basic Tinto, which is one of my favorite go to wines! Look for this Camino Real to get more interesting with bottle age, I’m glad I got a few to put away for 3 to 5 years, best from 2019 to 2026.
($38-45 Est.) 94 Points, grapelive

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