2018 Laura Lorenzo – Daterra Viticultores, Portela do Vento Blanco, Ribeira Sacra, Galicia Spain.
The 2018 Portela do Vento Vino Blanco is a stunning white wine from the incredible Laura Lorenzo, this wine is gorgeous with the class and complexity of Grand Cru Burgundy, but with its own unique character and with beautiful aromatics, this medium bodied wine, made from a blend of Ribeira Sacra grown Godello, Palomino, Doña Blanca and Colgadeira, none of which are household names, but combine here to remarkable effect. Lorenzo’s natural and organic offerings are some of the most compelling in Spain, with her hard and back breaking work in these remote vineyard sites really paying off, and while known for her Mencia based reds, her whites are equally outstanding and this 2018 is one f her best that I’ve tried, with its heady perfume, textural grace and depth just heavenly in the glass. This Portela do Blanco comes from plots in the Amandi and Val do Bibei zones set on sandy loams and granite based soils that show in this wine’s intense mineral tones and wet stone element, with vines that range from 25 to 80 years old at elevations above 500 meters on steep slopes look more like the Mosel than you’d imagine. This brilliant wine shows layers of crisp apple, pear, peach and racy citrus fruits with orange blossoms, jasmine and a touch of waxy detail along with zesty herbs, verbena, citron and hazelnut. A light golden yellow hue captures your attention, but it is the sublime mouth feel and steely core that impresses most here, it has many facets that will excite those that love Chablis, though slightly more exotic in nature like a Marcel Deiss field blend meets a South African old vine white, which are Chenin heavy, and makes sense when you know Lorenzo did a stint at Sadie Family, under the mentorship of the legendary Eben Sadie.
I have been following Laura’s wines since she was at Dominio do Bibei and was an early fan of her own label Daterra Viticultores, which was founded in 2014 with a set of small lot wines from the Ribeira Sacra, she has now enjoyed a string of successful vintages and is an international star. Lorenzo hand crafts a range of wines, mostly from a Ribeira Sacra set of small vineyards as well as in Valdeorras, and her Portela do Vento wines are regional blends exclusively from the Ribeira Sacra “Sacred Blanks”, while her Erea, Gavela, and Azos series are single village wines, and she also does a set of single parish or vinos de parroquia wines. All of Laura’s wines are transparent and highlight this regions fascinating terroir, with its cool Atlantic climate and mixture of slate, sand, schist and granite soils all showing through in these intriguing wines. The Portela do Vento Blanco, as the winery notes, comes from several parcels of native white varieties primarily from the Amandi (south-facing young vines) as well as Val do Bibei (north & northeast-facing old vines) subzones, all hand tended head trained vineyard sites, with organic and holistic farming methods employed. This dry white wine saw, according to Lorenzo, all the de-stemmed grapes go into both some used chestnut barrels and some terra-cotta amphora for a wild yeast fermentation with 5 days of skin contact before being raised for about a year in the same vessels and bottled unfined and unfiltered. This wine charms with every sip and goes fabulously with a wide array of foods, but especially with briny sea foods, I highly recommend it with shellfish, though it goes lovely with soft cheeses and even curried greens. This region has a long history in wine, with the Romans coming to this green, northwest corner of Iberia over 2,000 years ago, and they were the first to terrace these picturesque slopes and plant grape vines in Ribeira Sacra and while almost forgotten, but wines like this make it one of the most exciting wine regions in the world.
($35 Est.) 95 Points, grapelive