Fascinating wine, from a unique region, and a grape that's not all that common. But all things considered it was a little thinner than I'd hoped, plus acidic. Good, or at least better when the food showed up, but sub-par for my palate. Might lose a bit of its shaprness with a couple more years in the bottle.
See previous TN. Very enjoyable bottle. Although opinions about Garagiste vary considerably, to me, this wine represents what Jon R is trying to accomplish -- a wine with a difference. Interesting to drink.
The first bottle I had of this (a few years ago) was a bit rustic, but in retrospect perhaps off, because this bottle was singing. Bright, medium body, red fruit, very velvety and smooth finish. Very food-friendly I love the D. Ventura bottlings from Ribeira Sacra but this was right up there in terms of quality. Wish I had more.
Very much liked this, don't know how to score it against any peers, but my enjoyment was low 90s if I had to put a number on it. Juicy yet stern, earthy and light, this was just fun to drink. It actually reminded me of a rich Dolcetto, not the same flavors but the impression. Notes of rose petals joined forest and sour cherry on the palate. Wish I had more, and I'll seek out this region in the future. Looking at a NYT article Asimov did not too long ago, this area is beautiful physically too - be fun to visit.
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(MENCIA Peza do Rei Ribeira Sacra Rojo) Ribeira Sacra
Here's another set of wines we've had an unusually large number of inquiries for, but this time I know the source of the excitement - Eric Asimov's article on Ribeira Sacra in the New York Times last week.
We wrote about the emerging region of Ribeira Sacra last winter and pioneered the wines of Peza do Rei to high acclaim, not for their bruising force but for their deft expression of femininity and of an unknown mountainous terroir in northwest Spain that combines the potential of Cote Rotie, the Cote de Nuits and Saumur-Champigny all in one bottle (and that's just for the red). The white wine can be shimmering, brilliant and delicate in the mold of Sancerre meets Muscadet which gives Ribeira Sacra Blanco a special presence that sets it apart from a more famous, not so close neighbor: Rias Baixas. As a whole, the region is bubbling with electricity (in a vinous and enthusiastic sense) but they still have a long way to go to prove to the world that Ribeira Sacra should be taken as seriously as the storied landscapes I've mentioned above.
As far as standout producers in the region, Peza do Rei is among a handful of top-flight micro-wineries in the Sacra set to change the game in Spain. They wish to erase the notion that Iberian wine is about cooked fruit and high-octane, massively oaked Shiraz in Spanish or Portuguese clothing. Ribeira Sacra couldn't be further from that statement and, as pioneers of all things new and noteworthy from a terroir perspective, this region gets my vote as one of the top 5-6 in all of Europe to watch over the next decade - it reminds me of Priorat circa 1990 but the potential to produce unique and individual wine is even greater.
Here is the link to Eric Asimov's article from last week: http://www.nytimes.com/2009/07/15/dining/15pour.html?_r=2&ref=dining <http://www.nytimes.com/2009/07/15/dining/15pour.html?_r=2&ref=dining>
For now, the price of wine in Ribeira Sacra remains at a relatively low level which gives us additional ammunition to note that both the red and white below are HIGHLY RECOMMENDED but also EXTREMELY LIMITED (less than 500 bottles of each for the US):
2008 Peza do Rei Ribeira Sacra (Godello/Blanco) Peza do Rei's estate consists of eight hair-raising acres of steeply terraced vines set among the most rugged landscape of Ribera Sacra - they produce very little wine (as a frame of reference, La Tache is nearly 15 acres). Three of those eight acres consist of old-vine Godello and Treixadura, two indigenous white grapes that produce the above mentioned hypothetical mix of Sancerre and Muscadet - with an Iberian twist of course. If you enjoyed the delicate nature of the 2007 version of this wine, the 2008 has far more power without sacrificing the sifted stone and filigreed nature of the wine. It pulses with green skinned fruit that expands in the mouth and cuts a knife-edged blade through your dinner fare. With only 12.5% alcohol and much room to grow into itself (the wine was just bottled), I would recommend decanting this for at least an hour before imbibing. It will undoubtedly settle down and become more demure over the next 6-12 months (as the 2007 has for the better) but it is also quite fun to drink right now. If you enjoy some of the better Vieilles Vignes bottlings from the Savoie, this is right up your alley. An insider's gem that is very fairly priced for the quality.
2007 Peza do Rei Ribeira Sacra (Mencia/Rojo) This is their flagship wine (red) and it is certainly intriguing - it has nothing to do with most of the large-scale Mencia that emanates from the hills of nearby Bierzo. In the Ribeira Sacra, Mencia is like Syrah above Ampuis versus Syrah near Avignon - it is fresh, perfumed, not so obvious and full of slate and cool-toned soil elements. The vintners of Ribeira Sacra would tell you their expression is the true identity of the grape and that Mencia cannot fully express itself in Bierzo - I sense a rivalry coming. Whether Mencia is actually Cabernet Franc or a derivative thereof is still up for genetic conjecture but the grape, grown at high elevation in this region, can transport the taster to a dream-like place that spins a web full of Burgundy and Clos Rougeard in the same bottle. If you are into the pursuit of terroir, this wine should be high on your list - it is not in-your-face, unctuous or full of adolescent bravado, rather it is a chameleon of stone and spice that is reminiscent of Clos St. Jacques dipped in 12.5-13.0% alcohol Loire Cabernet Franc. This example will also open over several hours in the glass - it's an esoteric standout for its potential development but also for what it is today.
Jon Rimmerman Garagiste Seattle, WA
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