2014 Silice Viticultores, Mencia, Ribeira Sacra, Spain.
This 2014 Silice Viticultores red from Fredi Torries, Carlos and Juan Rodriguez in the Ribeira Sacra, is an all organic/biodynamic low sulfur blend of Mencia mostly (80%), but with some Merenzao, Albarello and Garnacha Tintorera (Alicante Bouschet) plus a few white grapes, making it new natural wine darling. I was thrilled to try it, as I’ve been trying to get my hands on it for months, a huge thank you to importer Sacred Thirst for getting me a bottle to sample for this review, after it was referred to me by winemakers in Galicia, and I was not disappointed, it’s a gorgeous wine of amazing energy and charms which I liken to a unique combo of Fleurie (Gamay) and St. Joseph (northern Rhone Syrah) with sublime sharp detail and very vintage correct. I really was reminded of Jean-Louis Dutraive’s Domaine de la Grand Cour Fleurie as I sipped my first sip with it’s eye-popping acidity and deep perfume, I also saw some Jean-Francois Ganevat and Lapierre too, plus a bit of Andre Perret Saint-Joseph too, but all this is just way to explain it’s quality and styling, not to take away from it’s own terroir character and the Ribeira-Sacra’s glorious long history as a region, which goes back to Roman times, if not longer and is one of the most exciting wine areas in the world. This 2014, a cool and difficult vintage, does have a bright Beaujolais like lean/lighter feel on the palate, but with a beautiful deep purple/blue hue in the glass, it comes in at about 12.5% alcohol, which is pretty normal for this place, it also shows a lovely crushed violets and lilacs nose as well as a striking mineral element with a sexy spicy background with blueberry, tangy currant, lingonberry and black cherry fruits in a tight frame and band of flavors with pepper, walnut oil, lavender/rosemary/anise and dusty flinty stones. This fresh Mencia blend was native yeast fermented using partial whole cluster from grapes that came from old recovered vines above the dramatic steep slopes of the Sil river on a mix of granite, shale, quartz and loose sandy soils, it’s a pure and vivacious wine that was aged in used French foudres, for 9 months in the smaller cask before racking off and raised another 5 months in bottle before release. This is a beautiful new generation Spanish wine with heavenly class and delicacy, for fans of natural wines this is a wine to search out, and it will appeal to the fans of the Jura, Beaujolais, northern Rhone and even those that follow the wines of Arianna Occhipinti, this really offers a stunning value as well, drink over the next two or three years, and be sure to check out the up-coming 2015, which should be even more exotic and generous considering the warmer year! As a side note, I’d love to see Mencia in coastal California regions or Oregon’s south, I bet it would be fantastic!
($24 Est.) 93 Points, grapelive

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