Adega Algueira, Armandi, Ribeira Sacra, Galicia, Spain. Biodynamic
Located in the town of Doade in Armandi, a subregion of Ribeira Sacra, the Algueira family, Fernando, Ana and their son Fabio, are making wines that ‘are considered by many the finest and most elegant in Ribeira Sacra.’ and it’s fair to say that Ribeira Sacra is one of Spain’s most exciting DOs. So, it goes without says that, at ELY, we are delighted to be working with the Algueiras.
Adega Algueira (Adega means wine cellar) is in an area of spectacular scenery, along the River Sil, with sensational slopes of incredible steepness that remind us of the Cote Rotie and the Mosel. The vineyards are built into the valley slopes, planted on small terraces (called solcacos) that have been cut into the schist hills by monks in the 12th century. These solcacos remind us of the granite terraces of Valtellina in Italy and the wines of both Valtellina and Ribera Sacra can trace their history back to the Roman Empire. Ribeira Sacra enjoys a cooling microclimate, cooler than that of nearby Bierzo, thanks to the tempering effect of the river and Atlantic air currents. Factor in the poor schist soils and you get wines that are textured and full of minerality that reflect the beautiful but daunting landscape and its great terroir.
Algueira is a small, artisanal winery, with biodynamic principles, that has been restoring old vineyards of indigenous varieties. The family started tending these vines over 40 years ago, establishing the winery itself in 1989, and today the grapes are all estate grown. Those grapes are hand harvested with the help of monorails dotted along the slopes that can be of up to 75 degrees in incline. They’re mostly trodden by foot, with long, slow, natural fermentations and aged in old vats before being bottled with no fining or filtration. The whites, mostly Godellos, from cooler plots on the more sheltered slopes, have an enticing mineral character with a lovely racy vein and a long finish. The reds are intriguing. They’re elegant and pure, with supple aromas and fruits that have a Burgundian like quality in how they reflect and respect their terroir.
The wines of Algueira are delicious, have been described as soulful, are definitely special and, given the work that goes into creating them, are great value. These wines are of a place and have a purity that encapsulates the fortitude of the valley, the vines and the people that come together so that we can enjoy them.