2014 Laura Lorenzo Daterra Viticultores, Azos da Vila, Vino Tinto, VdT Val do Bibei, Ribeira Sacra, Spain.
Grown on the steep hillsides of Val do Bibei in the Ribeira Sacra, a Galician wine region near the river Sil, the Laura Lorenzo Daterra Viticultores Azos da Villa is an amazing red wine that is a true old vine field blend that has the earthy spiciness of the Northern Rhone and the length and class of Burgundy! Lorenzo, who has worked with Eben Sadie in South Africa and Achaval Ferrer in Argentina as well as with Domino do Bibei, is one of the world’s newest great winegrowers and a talents, she and her wines are soulful and reflect passion of place, if you’ve not had her wines, you need to and soon! Reviving old vines and varietals, Laura’s heart is in the Granite, Gneiss, Clay, Slate and Schiste soils of her native Manzaneda and this Azos da Vila is her blood, she farms all organically, all by hand using plots of 80-120 year old vines, which she de-stemmed in 2014 and co-fermented with native yeasts and in open top French oak, then aged in a mix of barrique and 500L casks, all well seasoned (used Barrels) from a unique field blend of Mouraton, Mencia, Garnacha Tintorera (Alicante Bouschet), Marenzao, Gran Negro and a few other unknown varietals. Lorenzo’s hard work and attention to detail in the vines paid off in 2014, her first vintage, in a year that was incredibly difficult with a humid and cold season that required patience and intense efforts to get the best out of the vineyards, which she did! The Azos da Vila 2014 is fresh and natural, it starts with flinty mineral, porcini (earthy) elements and tangy dark berries along with an inner floral expression before leading to a medium full palate that shows tart blueberry, cranberry, black plum, pretty currant jam and kirsch as well as dusty stones, basil, dried lavender, anise and liquid violets. The mouth feel is textural and vital with supple/ripe tannins and vivid acidity, the alcohol is refined and balanced at 13% and with Lorenzo’s extremely low SO2 use this red has the best character of what we admire in natural wines, in the same league as the wines from Arianna Occhipinti, Elisabetta Foradori and Mathieu Lapierre. This is an exceptional wine, it will be hard to find, but worth the search, imported by Jose Pastor Selections, I had to get my two bottles from Texas! Look for her 2015’s which are a little easier to locate and her just released 2016, which I hear are even better. If you wanted to compare Laura Lorenzo to a California producer, I’d say it would be good to look at either Bedrock Wine Co. (Morgan Twain-Peterson MW’s Heritage old vine field blend bottlings) or Arnot-Roberts’ Trousseau, her Daterra wines are not to be missed and highlight Galicia’s potential on the world’s stage.
($40 Est.) 94+ Points, grapelive

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