Gaba do Xil Mencia 2017
This bright red hails from Valdeorras (“Valley of Gold”) in eastern Galicia, a region once famous for gold-mining and now best known for its unique and complex wines made from the indigenous Godello and Mencia grapes. The wine is named for the river Sil that flows through the region (Xil is its ancient name, used by the Celtic people who once inhabited the area). The river’s tributaries are flanked by vineyards, planted in terraces on steep slate hillsides. The label displays a dozen bridges, symbolizing the idea of crossing from one vineyard plot to another.
Gaba do Xil Mencia is produced partially from grapes that are estate-grown and partially sourced from long-term suppliers. They come from 4 plots (A Torgueira, As Caborcas, O Pando, A Pedreira) located in the valleys of the Rio Bibei, a tributary of the Sil. This area, situated at around 550m above sea level, was abandoned more than 200 years ago after the phylloxera epidemic devastated most of Europe’s vineyards. Dotted with chestnut trees mixed with rockrose, the old granitic terraces barely have enough space to squeeze in the odd row of vines, following the folds of the mountains that plunge into the river. The vines grow in shallow, stony granite soils on terraces facing south, west and northwest. All grapes are harvested by hand.
Gaba do Xil Mencia is vinified with native yeasts in 100% stainless steel tanks and sees no contact with oak.
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Wine Advocate (90+) - "It was hard to beat the superb 2016, but the 2017 Gaba do Xil Mencía was also perfumed and open, expressive, with a little more ripeness, with good volume and a little more density. This fermented and matured in stainless steel and was bottled without ever touching any oak to keep the fruit profile. But it's more than fruit; it has the austere texture of the granite soils with an expressive finish."
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