Escalada do Sil by Alberto Orte 2017
Opaque ruby. Slick mineral- and smoke-accented dark fruit, incense and potpourri scents are complemented by suggestions of cola and smoky minerals. Sweet, seamless and concentrated, offering intense boysenberry, cherry liqueur and violet pastille flavors that become livelier and spicier with aeration. Sappy, palate-staining and lively; subtle tannins fold smoothly into the lingering blue fruit.
Blend: 60% Merenzao, 30% Mencia, 10% Garnacha Tintorera
Critical AcclaimAll Vintages
There is also a red 2017 Escalada do Sil Tinto produced with a field blend from three plots on terraces of the Sil River. It's approximately 60% Merenzao, 30% Mencía and 10% Garnacha Tintorera fermented with indigenous yeasts and matured in 500-liter French oak barrels for 15 months. It has the translucent ruby color of the Merenzao and the perfumed, floral nose with violets intermixed with notions of orange peel and a touch of smoked meat, quite showy. It's medium-bodied, has very fine tannins and a silky thread, very pleasant, with clean, focused flavors, lively and long, delicate and with nicely integrated oak. Very impressive!
A vivid, bright red with red-cherry, watermelon and citrus undertones that follow through to a medium body, fine tannins and a lively finish. Shows energy and precision.
Escalada Do Sil represents a revival of a style of wine that once upon a time was popular in the high elevation region of Valdeorras. Today Valdeorras is mostly known for the production of white Godello grapes, however before the 1800s, this region was known for the production of red wine, specifically grapes like Merenzao, which are rare to find today.
In Portugal, the Merenzao grape takes the name of Bastardo and in France, specifically in the Jura region, it takes the name of Trousseau. Mencía provides body and Garnacha Tintorera (also known as Alicante Bouschet) contributes dark pigmentation and acidity. The vineyards of this rare wine are very near the cliffs of the Sil River, hence the name Escalada Do Sil. Valdeorras is known for its altitude and mineral soils composed of slate and granite. The region is in between Bierzo and Ribeira Sacra, but its climate is very different. Its higher elevation brings cooler nights and mornings, producing grapes with uplifted tones and refined tannins. If you are a lover of Cru Beaujolais, we recommend that you try Escalada Do Sil.
With hundreds of red grape varieties to choose from, winemakers have the freedom to create a virtually endless assortment of blended wines. In many European regions, strict laws are in place determining the set of varieties that may be used, but in the New World, experimentation is permitted and encouraged. Blending can be utilized to enhance balance or create complexity, lending different layers of flavors and aromas. For example, a variety that creates a fruity and full-bodied wine would do well combined with one that is naturally high in acidity and tannins. Sometimes small amounts of a particular variety are added to boost color or aromatics. Blending can take place before or after fermentation, with the latter, more popular option giving more control to the winemaker over the final qualities of the wine.