Escalada Do Bibei
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Escalada Do Bibei 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. Escalada Do Bibei is a blend of Merenzao, Mencía and Brancellao. Merenzao and Brancellao are very aromatic, offering aromas of strawberries and violets. 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 Brancellao contributes acidity. The vineyards of this rare wine are near the cliffs of the Bibei River which is more narrow and steep than the neighboring Sil river. 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.
WHAT MAKES THIS WINE UNIQUE?
The Vineyards. The 5 remote plots that yield incredibly small production from 80 to 100 year old vines hand harvested from the granite banks of the Bibei River. The local wildlife including the European roe deer and native birds consume half the grapes before the harvesters arrive to these isolated vineyards making this wine even more of a rare gift to present to you!
2018 92 JS; 2017 93 JS, 92 WA; 2016 94 JS, 94 IWR, 93 Vinous
It is a field blend of Mencia, Merenzao, Brancellao, Grau Negro and Garnacha Tintorera. Mencia provides body, Merenzao and Brancellao aromatics, Brancellao also adds acidity and Garnacha Tintorera adds color and structure.
Pair this wine with braised lamb shank, Merguez (lamb sausages), Cocido Madrileno, or simply prepared pan-fried merluza (hake). The wild red berry profile of this wine also pairs well with wild mushrooms such as chanterelle, hen-of-the-woods, oyster, enoki, hedgehog and morels.
VINIFICATION AND AGEING:
The wine is Macerated for 28 days and then aged in French oak barrels for 18 months. After one month of natural racking and sediment settling, the wine is gently filtered then bottled.
LOCATION, SOIL, CLIMATE:
The vineyards are located in the autonomous region of Galicia, in far northwestern Celtic Spain, within the Valdeorras DO (Zone 1) in Valdeorras district within the province of Ourense. The grapes are grown between As Ermidas and As Escadas, by the Bibei river and have a western orientation at 500 to 750 m (1,640 to 2,460 ft) elevation. The soil is composed of slate and granite topsoil with a thin clay subsoil. This soil profile is poor in organic matter. The vines yield 1.000 kg/ha (< 6 lbs) of grapes per vine, compared to the average of 7.5 kg (around 17 lbs) per vine in Valdeorras. The area's climate has an average temperature of 66.2 F from April to October, among the lowest average temperatures in Spain, with 27.56 inches of annual rainfall. This low level of precipitation helps prevent overnight frost. The cool temperatures of this Atlantic-influenced climate (Zone 1) provide a longer ripening period, which results in bright wines with great aromatic expression.
Dark Ruby core. On the nose smokey and slightly meaty roasted dark red fruit give way to cola nut and garam masala spices of Mace, Cinnamon, clove cumin and fennel. On the palate the warm baking spices compliment the boysenberry, black currant and dried violet notes and fine-grained tannin.