Vina Mein Ribeiro 2012
Critical AcclaimAll Vintages
Far back in Spain's history, Ribeiro was a prominent wine-producing area. Its white wines gained great fame during the sixteenth century, but this fame was not to last. Slowly, the popularity of wines from the area decreased and production slowed until the great wines of Ribeiro were forgotten by the world. But the locals never forgot their winemaking heritage. In 1988 a group of friends from San Clodio y Gomariz decided that they should revitalize this ancient viticultural area. At the forefront of this group was Viña Mein founder Javier Alen. With help from his friends, Javier replanted 16 hectares of vineyards on the hillsides of the Avia River. The focus for these vineyards was to reestablish some of the ancient varietals of Galician white grapes: Treixadura, Godello, Loureiro, Torrontés, Albariño, and Albilla. As an experimental side project, they also planted 400 vines of red Galician grapes that include Caíño, Mencía, and Ferrón. 25 years after starting Viña Mein, Javier Alen decided that it was time for the next generation to move in and hired two young oenologists from Madrid named Dani Landi and Fernando Garcia. Operating under the label Comando G, they are at the vanguard of new trends in Spain. They studied Viña Mein and realized that there was great undiscovered potential at the winery. Comando G began their work by separating out the different sites and transitioning the viticulture to a more organic and biodynamic approach. In the winery, they shifted focus by starting to use large wooden, cement and oak vessels. These changes resulted in two new wines, each representing a different parcel to reflect different terroirs. The house cuvée Viña Mein has become the village wine, a picture of the entire estate. Most recently, they've hired the respected oenologist Laura Montero to take over the winemaking process.
Known for bold reds, crisp whites and distinctive sparkling and fortified wines, Spain has embraced international varieties and wine styles while continuing to place primary emphasis on its own native grapes. Though the country’s climate is diverse, it is generally hot and dry. In the center of the country lies a vast, arid plateau known as the Meseta Central, characterized by extremely hot summers and frequent drought.
Ribera del Duero is gaining ground with its single varietal Tempranillo wines, recognized for their concentration of fruit and opulence. Priorat, a sub-region of Catalonia, specializes in bold, full-bodied red blends of Garnacha (Grenache), Cariñena (Carignan), and often Syrah and Cabernet Sauvignon. Catalonia is also home to Cava, a sparkling wine made in the traditional method but from indigenous varieties. In the cool, damp northwest region of Galicia, refreshing white Albariño and Verdejo dominate.
With hundreds of white 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 soft and full-bodied wine would do well combined with one that is more fragrant and naturally high in acidity. 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.