When you see pictures of Ribeira Sacra, which is located in Northwestern Spain, its potential is obvious.
The schist vineyards are ridiculously steep and terraced. They are so dramatic that you immediately think of the Northern Rhône and especially of Côte-Rôtie.
Much like Côte-Rôtie working the back-breaking slopes of Ribeira Sacra is no joke. Everything is done by hand.
There's no doubt that the effort pays off. If you're looking for mineral, elegant and complex wines, it is definitely a place to check out. In in this context, Algueira's wines show a level of lift, finesse and overall clarity that separates them from the pack.
Whenever you read "steep and by hand", the natural reaction is to assume that the wines will not be inexpensive. However, Algueira really excels at delivering serious value.
Algueira's Mencia combines something of both the Rhône and Beaujolais with its silky cherry fruits, spice and dark stony minerality. It's hard not to be taken aback by the wine's expression of terroir, texture, vibrancy and precision. It's difficult to find these qualities in wines that cost twice as much.
John Gilman has called Algueira "One of the crown jewel estates in Ribeira Sacra." The wine making here is incredibly thoughtful and their commitment to the region and its native grapes is utterly sincere. Besides Mencia, they produce wines from the area's very obscure grapes like Merenzao and Brancellao.
It's rare that we find sub-$20 bottles that deliver this level of excitement. Every year, Algueira's Mencia is one of our go-to wines in this category. However, the 2017 leaps out as being special.
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Crush Wine & Spirits