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  • 343. Rías Baixas DO 2016 Albariño

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    Bodegas Albamar

    100% Albariño (13% alc.)

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    This is made by Xurxo Alba, one of the most dynamic, talented young winemakers in the region, well respected by fellow leading winemakers, who positively fizzes with energy and ideas. The vines come from many different plots, planted in sandy granitic soils close to the Atlantic (in places 25m away) and his main production is of this delicious wine, one of the very few albariño in the region to be made via natural, indigenous yeasts. 95% cuve aged, and pressed from whole clusters, Xurxo didn’t let the wine go through malolactic to preserve acidity. He’s always looking for transparency, acidity and freshness, and this wine mixes a delicious mineral vibration with a dense core of fruit with a marked salinity on the finish. For drinking now to 2019.

  • 344. Rías Baixas DO 2016 Sesenta e Nove Arrobas

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    Bodegas Albamar

    100% Albariño (13% alc.)

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    Xurxo has produced just 1000 litres of this brilliant wine (equivalent to 69 arrobas, an old unit of measure), Luis Gutierrez’s top-rated Rias Baixas albariño for the last two years. Made from three parcels of vines averaging over 60yo, it was cuve aged for a year on the fine lees and bottled with no filtration and lower sulphur. Subtle and rather discrete on the nose, it explodes into action on the palate, with zesty lemon pith, a saline and iodine mineral core, floral notes of honeysuckle and lilies, with vibrant acidity. Will age very well. For drinking now to 2024.

  • 345. Rías Baixas DO 2016 O Esteiro

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    Bodegas Albamar

    One third each of Caiño, Espadeiro, Mencia (11.5% alc.)

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    Sourced from a multitude of miniscule plots of old vines (totalling about half a hectare) on the typically sandy, granitic soils of the region, the whole bunches of grapes here were foot trodden in an open vat before transfer to old 228ltr barrels for a year, before bottling unfined and unfiltered. All three of Xurxo’s reds have low alcohol levels and pale colours more akin to Poulsard from the Jura but will startle with the energetic freshness and purity of their fruit. Here for example you’ll find zesty red berries and bitter cherries, roses, crushed black pepper, a touch of balsamic and spice plus  herbal twist on the mineral finish. Like poulsard Galician reds are incredibly versatile food-wise, and you won’t find many reds around the world that go better with shellfish (eg fresh crab) and fish with stronger flavoured veg or sauces. For drinking now to 2021.

  • 346. Rías Baixas DO 2016 O Esteiro Caiño

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    Bodegas Albamar

    100% Caino (11.5% alc)

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    Just two barrels of wine from very old vines here (there are less than 1% of red grape vineyards in Rias Baixas). The dried rose on the nose, and the zingy red fruits with black pepper and smoky ash are typical caino characteristics of this elegant, subtle wine with low alcohol and fine grained tannins on the mineral infused finish. For drinking now to 2021.

  • 347. Rías Baixas DO 2016 O Esteiro Espadeiro

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    Bodegas Albamar

    100% Espadeiro (11.5% alc.)

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    And finally, we arrive with the rarest of all red grapes planted in Galicia (apparently also known as Camaraou Noir in Jurancon and Bearn where it has almost disappeared), and Xurxo has produced just one barrel of 300bts from ancient vines. Trodden by foot, this wine has an exquisite delicate red colour, red berry perfume, and is juicy, fresh and vivid with balsamic notes, an attractive spice and grainy edge. For drinking now to 2021.

  • 348. Ribeiro DO 2016

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    Emilio Rojo

    70% Treixadura,10% Loureiro, 10% Albariño, 5% Godello, 5% Lado (13% alc.)

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    Emilio planted his 1.2 hectares of 30yo vines on a steep, east facing terraced hillside (supported by walls) at 300m altititude, in an isolated spot surrounded by oak and chestnut trees above an ancient rural settlement abandoned 40 years ago. Here the soil is a sandy, decomposed granite called sabrego from which Emilio fashions just 5000bts of one wine (at 30hh), which has become one of Spain’s most sought-after whites. Aged in cuve on the fine lees for 16 months before bottling by hand with no filtration, this is a profound wine, tightly wound with an electric freshness, that is much more about a mineral character than fruit, with a hint of herb and balsamic note, and marked salinity. It ideally needs a few years in bottle or opening well in advance and given plenty of air, and even then, constantly changes and amazes in the glass. Emilio’s 2015 was rated as Galicia’s best white of 101 wines tasted by Decanter in March 2018, 97 points. Very limited quantity. For drinking now to 2026.

  • 349. Monterrei DO 2016 Alanda Blanco

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    Quinta da Muradella

    50% Doña Blanca, 20% Treixadura, 20% Verdello, 10% Monstruosa de Monterrei (13% alc.)

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    This comes from three of José’s three fincas spread around the hillsides of Verín where the soils are a mix of slate and clay, sandy gravel and decomposing granite. Made from yields around 30hh, cuve aged with no malos and kept on the fine lees with no stirring before bottling in February 2018, like all of the Muradella whites this wine is subtle and elegant, quite tightly wound initially with vibrant acidity, displaying a strong mineral character with subtle peach and citrus fruits, fennel and eucalyptus notes gradually emerging, and salinity on the finish. For drinking now to 2021.

  • 350. Monterrei DO 2013 Gorvia Blanco

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    Quinta da Muradella

    100% Doña Blanca (13.5% alc.)

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    Gorvia is one of José’s single vineyards, from a 1h steep slope near the castle of Monterrei in Verín, where the 27yo vines are planted by massale selection in a clay, slate soil with high metal content. He only makes the wine in one out of every two vintages when he feels the vintage properly expresses the terroir. Here José has settled on tiny yields of just 12hh to fully capture all the potential of Dona Blanca (also called Siria in Portugal) from which he fashions the ‘best Doña Blanca on earth’ (Luis Gutierrez), ageing for a year in older foudres, and then two years in stainless steel before bottling unfined and unfiltered. It is vibrant, complex, intense and impeccably balanced with some yellow plum and citrus fruit, acacia and pollen notes, minerals, salty and savoury, with attractive bitters on a long finish. For drinking now to 2021.

  • 351. Monterrei DO 2015 Muradella Blanco

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    Quinta da Muradella

    100% Treixadura (13% alc.)

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    José’s finest white comes from a separate finca in the Tamaguelos de Monterrei zone where the soils are a mix of clay, slate and granitic sand, and the vines range from 18yo to very old. Also called the Trajadura grape in Portugal, it’s a grape that has always been renowned for its quality and vigour, but there are almost certainly no other winemakers who have explored its quality boundaries by dropping the yields down to a mere 9hh, perhaps helping to explain why Gutierrez believes this wine is at the quality helm of all Galician whites. Aged initially in older foudres then cuve over two years before being bottled unfiltered. You’ll find exotic spices like star anis and cumin, fennel and aniseed, even hints of hay on the nose, with savoury, intense, high pitched flavours, with herbal and spicy tones, all the time wrapped up with an austere quality and frank mineral resonance on the finish. For drinking now to 2023.

  • 352. Monterrei DO 2013 Alanda Tinto

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    Quinta da Muradella

    Mix of Mencía, Bastardo, Garnacha Tintorera, Mouraton, Gran Negro and Arauxa (13% alc.)

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    The 2013 red version of Alanda is a blend from the many different vineyards, sub-zones, and soil types within the Monterrei DO. The different grape varieties (harvested at around 25hh) were fermented together, part in stainless steel, part in cement, with one third of full clusters and aged for one year in used barrels and cement tank then assembled and matured for a further year in stainless steel before being bottled neither fined nor filtered. The nose is fruit-driven, there are no traces of oak, a combination of cherry fruit, herbal aromas and a pinch of spices, and a medium-bodied palate with focused, red cherry flavours, fine tannins and balanced acidity. Supple and easy to drink. For drinking now to 2020.

  • 353. Monterrei DO 2015 Gorvia Tinto

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    Quinta da Muradella

    90% Mencia, 5% Bastardo, 5% Caiño Redondo (13% alc.)

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    The red 2015 Gorvia is produced from 29yo vines (yielding 22hh) on a one hectare south-facing slate slope near Monterrei Castle. It was fermented in an open stainless steel vat with 60% whole bunches and a very long maceration, aged for six months and then transferred into older  300 and 500ltr barrels. On the nose you notice wild strawberries, and floral perfume of violets and dry roses, with sour cherries, spice and an earthy sensation on the palate. This is a superb Atlantic red with a Burgundian accent and the finesse that is typical of the reds from Muradella. 3,000 bottles were filled by hand, unfined and unfiltered in May 2017. For drinking now to 2024.

  • 354. Bierzo DO 2016 Cal

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    Verónica Ortega

    100% Godello (12.5% alc.)

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    This is the second vintage of this beautiful wine that comes from 30yo vines (giving tiny grapes) planted in the limestone (cal)- a very rare soil in Bierzo where slate and clay is more usual - above an old quarry near the town of San Juan de la Mata. Macerated on the skins overnight, it is aged for 14 months 50% in 800ltr amphoras and 50% in 1yo 228ltr and 600ltr barrels without the use of sulphur until a touch was added at bottling. As the ph of the wine here is so low (3.05) and the acidity so high the wine did not go through malo-lactic fermentation (it wasn’t blocked by sulphur). It is an intensely mineral wine, with a zesty fruit, giving notes of green tea, almonds, chamomile with a fresh vertical mouth-feel, and marked salinity which enhances its vibrant energy. For drinking now to 2019.

  • 355. Bierzo DO 2016 Quite

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    Verónica Ortega

    100% Mencia (13% alc.)

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    Verónica is based in Valtuille de Abajo, and this wine comes from various parcels of organically tended vines around the village (averaging 80yo) planted in the typical sandy, red clay soils (where there is quite a high iron content) giving a yield averaging 25hh. Verónica’s father was a bullfighter and Quite is a bullfighting term meaning to offer a helping hand. Given a 15 day cuvaison and aged for seven months, half in 800ltr amphoras and half in 2-3yo barrels, it has an excellent texture, most attractive mulberry and brambly fruit and floral hints with some liquorice and nutmeg. So delicious and easy to drink. For drinking now to 2020.

  • 356. Bierzo DO 2016 Cobrana

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    Verónica Ortega

    85% Mencia, 15% mix of Doña Blanca, Palomino, Godello etc (13% alc.)

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    This is the first vintage of this wine, which is made from a small parcel of 90yo vines in Cobrana, one of the highest altitude, coolest vineyards of Bierzo at 750m, in the north east of the DO where the soils are a decomposing slate with red clay. Here it was traditional to co-plant different grape varieties, red and white. Made from 100% whole bunches aged in a mix of amphoras and older barrels for 13 months, Verónica has fashioned another exquisite wine, which has both a very floral nose with dried rose notes, attractive strawberry and raspberry fruit, with balsamic and menthol in the background, fresh and elegant at the same time. For drinking now to 2021.

  • 357. Bierzo DO 2015 Roc

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    Verónica Ortega

    100% Mencia (13.5% alc.)

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    Verónica’s finest and longest-lived wine (named with the initials of her oldest brother who sadly passed away) comes from two small parcels of vines averaging 100yo planted in the sandy clays of Valtuille de Abajo. Here the sands give more aromatic finesse and precision to the fruit, complementing the muscular side conferred by the clay. Made from 100% whole bunches and gently extracted over 20 days, it was aged in 2-3yo barrels for 14 months. There’s a darker fruited character to this wine with black cherries, brambly fruit and violets on the nose with hints of incense, all of which you’ll taste on the palate with a herbal note too. Medium-bodied it is a subtle, deep, complex wine with fine tannic structure and very good balance that’s built to last. For drinking now to 2024.

  • 358. Rioja DO 2015 Cosecha

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    Bodega Akutain

    97% Tempranillo, 3% Garnacha (13% alc.)

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    Hand crafted Rioja by a very small independent 6.5h estate in the Rioja Alta where the finest Riojas emanate, here the 25-40yo vines are planted in a pale calcareous clay at 500-650m altitude and give a yield averaging 40hh. The first of the Akutain wines is aged in cuve 100% and bottled unfiltered after a year. On the palate it is very much on the fruit with attractive depth of ripe raspberry and plum fruit with liquorice and a fleck of cinnamon and bayleaf and finishes clean and saline where the influence of the limestone soil can clearly be sensed. For drinking now to 2020.

  • 359. Rioja DO 2014 Crianza

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    Bodega Akutain

    93% Tempranillo, 5% Garnacha, 2% Viura (13% alc.)

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    This is a blend from the four parcels of vines worked by Akutain, vinified in tank than transferred into 45% new to 6yo, and 55% 7yo and much older oak barrels which as per a long Rioja tradition come 75% from the Appalachian region of USA, with the balance from France. Aged for 20 months in barrel (much longer than the minimum 14 months prescribed) and racked barrel by barrel twice a year it was bottled without filtration, and then aged for a further eight months in bottle in their deep under-vineyard cellar. As you’d expect this is more of a traditional Rioja, with a mix of plum and prune fruit and herbal touch with the wine’s vanilla aromas soon evolving and melding into the wine’s savoury backdrop. Once again, the finish is clean and saline due to the calcareous soil. Benefits from carafeing or opening an hour before serving. For drinking now to 2023.

  • 360. Rioja DO 2012 Reserva

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    Bodega Akutain

    93% Tempranillo, 5% Garnacha, 2% Viura (13% alc.)

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    Akutain’s top wine is also a blend of their four parcels, but here there is a much higher percentage from their highest vineyard of Gembres (650m) where the cooler nights and the larger diurnal temperature range have an incredible impact on the quality of the juice giving exquisite fruit, more acidity and ageing potential. Vinified in tank and then barrel aged in the same way as the Crianza above, although the Reserva receives an additional two months in barrel and four months in bottle before release. There is more structure and complexity here with spicy, plummy, cherry/dried fig fruit with a floral/herbal edge, oak ageing seamlessly integrated and incredible freshness and lift on the finish, with tell-tale salinity keeping everything in focus. For drinking now to 2027.