Gaba do Xil Mencia 2015
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.
2015 as a vintage was a relatively hot one. The extreme summer heat caused a block in vine development, giving way to a late harvest which in the end gave a wonderful balance of both ripeness and freshness.
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