If you would ask me who were the leading ambassadors of the new Spanish wine industry, I could answer these three: Peter Sissek, Alvaro Palacios and Telmo Rodriguez. In each of their respective regions, they were captains of industry. With Pingus, Peter Sisseck demonstrated that you could capture the essence of a terroir with old exceptional vines. Similarly, Alvaro Palacios resurrected the Priorat and Bierzo with Garnacha and Mencia respectively.
Our final character is Telmo Rodriguez. Telmo is one of the best winemakers of Spain. In a similar manner to Alvaro Palacios, he travelled and mastered his skills for many years before returning home to Rioja, where he took to the next level a wine that was already outstanding, Remelluri. In addition he has supervised diverse négociant projects throughout Spain. One of his most acclaimed projects is in Valdeorras, Galicia.
Ladeiras do Xil is the name of this exciting venture. Since 2002, he has been working miraculously 23 ha of steep mountain vineyards in the Santa Cruz village in the province of Ourense.
I was recently invited to a Telmo Rodriguez masterclass by its Canadian Importer, Trialto. The purpose was to discuss the Ladeiras do Xil project. Frankly, it was a fantastic enriching experience for myself since I am more familiar with his Remelluri and Matallana proyect.
It is always a pleasure to taste the wines of Telmo Rodriguez. He is like a horse whisperer for the wine terroir. A modern interpreter of the past with an avant-garde vision of the future. I always get goosebumps when I heard him speak. I was also very pleased to know that he is a big fan of Rhone wines. We have that in common. You can actually feel the Northern Rhone influence in his wines.
Gaba do Xil Godello 2017 $21.60 SAQ # 11896113
From the Valdeorras wine growing area, specifically the sites of A Pedreira, A Torgueira, O Barreiro, Valerio, Valdemas. Monovarietal Godello at high altitude ( 400-500 m). Red, clay and slate soils.
This exciting Godello exhibits a very aromatic nose redolent of ripe peach fruit with hints of fresh-cut grass with a smoky and flint point. On the palate, it is creamy with a firm acidity.
Branco de Santa Cruz 2015 ( Not available in the Quebec market)
A field blend of Godello, Treixadura and Dona Branca from the Ladeiras do Bibei in Valdeorras. Different sites around the Santa Cruz town. Granite soils with very low yields.
A fantastic nose that remind me of the wine Silex by Didier Dagueneau. Beautiful nuances of silex, slate and wet rock character. With aeration, aromas of white tea and nectarine develops as well. Elegant and well-balanced, it could age for a few years.
As Caborcas 2015 $77.25 ( 4 cases coming soon in the Quebec Market)
2.5 hectares of vineyards in the in the town of Santa Cruz. Granite floors, poor and shallow, located in endless terraces on steep terrain that is on the banks of the Bibei River. A field blend of Mencía, Merenzao, Sousón, Godello, and Garnacha. Aging in small oak barrels, stainless steel and foudres.
Smoky with fieldberry and savoury notes of cured meat, star anise and black olive tapenade. On the mouth, very elegant with a lot of depth and concentration Firm acidity. Polished midpalate with satiny tannins. Blind tasted, I would probably guess that this is a Crozes Hermitage. Very exciting wine.
O Diviso 2015. $77.25 ( 2 cases coming soon in the Quebec Market)
According to Telmo, this wine is probably the most authentic expression of Valdeorras in the Bilbei hills. A field blend of Mencía, Brancellao, Sousón, Garnacha and other red and white varieties. Fermentation in small wooden barrels and a soft aging in foudres.
Complex nose with a lot of depth. Aromas redolent of seaweed, licorice and cardamom. On the palate, fruit driven yet with deep pepper notes. Very elegant with soft tannins and a fluid finale. This wine reminds of me an electric St-Joseph
Falcoeira ” A Capilla” 2015 $77.25 ( 4 cases to come in the Quebec Market)
From the Falcoeira site in Santa Cruz, a field blend of Mencía, Brancellao, Sousón, Garnacha and other varieties. Made with indigenous yeast and aged in a mix of foudres and wood barriques.
My favorite red from the trio. Dark and decadent with complex notes of smoke, petrol and other animal notes with a vivid note of black pepper. Meaty tannins and a magnificent structure. A very long balsamic finale. Definitely, the Hermitage of Galicia!!.