2020 Envinate, Mencia, Lousas “Vinas de Aldea” Ribeira Sacra D.O. Galicia, Spain.
This darkly ruby hued 2020 Lousas Vines de Aldea is wonderfully Pinot Noir like, in fact it reminds me a lot of Philippe Pacalet’s Chambolle-Musigny, and is joyous expressive and a bit less rustic than some recent vintages have been with a core of juicy red fruits. The medium bodied palate here has really come together and is silky in feel, but with good acidity and loads of mineral with a subtle smoky note, it leads with black cherry, strawberry, tart red currant and lingonberry fruits and spiced violets, fennel, sultry earth, cinnamon, black tea and rose oil. The Mencia based Lousas Vinas de Aldea which is usually 40% to 100% whole cluster, is all naturally fermented with native yeast, with classic foot-trodden maceration, it is fermented in bins and then raised in used mid size oak casks without racking. It is matured for just under a year normally then bottled with only a tiny amount of SO2, unfined and unfiltered.The Viticultores de Ribeira Sacra y Envinate Lousas comes from vines overseen by Alfonso Torrente in Galicia on the cool Atlantic coast, in this ancient wine region known as the “sacred banks” with its steep river valleys of slate soils being an awesome area for wine, in fact it was highly prized back in Roman times. I’ve long been a fan of this winery, in particular their Canary Islands wines and their Ribeira Sacra Mencia offerings, so it was interesting being blind tasted on this one by my friend Bernie de Luna of Cella Restaurant in Monterey, who always has some cool stuff on the wine list.

Envinate, as mentioned here many times, which means “wines yourself” is four friends that met in college, which are from vastly different regions of Spain, but always promised to make wine together. They are a very talented crew that come from unique parts of the country including the remote Canary Islands to Murcia, as well as here in the Ribeira Sacra, they are winemakers Roberto Santana, maybe the most well known for his incredible Tenerife wines made from Listan Negro and Listan Prieto, as well as Alfonso Torrente, Laura Ramos, and José Martínez, all regional, if not international stars in their own right. I am a big fan of Envinate, as my reviews have shown for many vintages now, and I chase their bottles down for my personal use, they are soulful and intriguing terroir driven efforts made by humble and passionate hands. The grapes are hand tended from very steep parcels, and as noted before, these Sil River valley slopes look like the Rhein or Mosel and the soils are smoky slate, schist, sand and granite, which gives these Mencia wines their likeness to the Northern Rhone, in fact Lousas means Slate in the local dialect, with this Vina de Aldea coming from 60 year old organic vines on the weathered slate. The Ribeira Sacra bottlings are all well worth searching out, Envinate keeps impressing with each vintage and this one especially shines for the price, it will certainly appeal to those that like lower alcohol and rustic styles of wines. At the risk of sounding like a broken record, I recommend searching out these find to find Envinate bottlings, from their Albahra (70% Garnacha Tintorera, 30% Moravia Agria) from Alicante to the Migan (Listan Negro) from 120 year old vines a top an ancient volcano on Tenerife!
($42 Est.) 93 Points, grapelive

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