Escalada do Sil Tinto
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Like many of the wines Alberto Orte makes, Escalada do Sil is a history project. Intrigued by century-old wine writing that described elegant, aromatic reds from Valdeorras, Alberto sought to replicate this style, veering away from the Godello that is the predominant grape now planted in the region. He found an old-vine parcel, terraced because of its almost cliff-like steepness, at the western end of the appellation adjacent to Ribera Sacra. He found a plot to Mencia, Garnacha Tintorera (Alicante Bouschet), and Merenzao, the grape known as Bastardo in Portugal and Trousseau in the Jura region of France. With these cool-climate, aromatic red varieties, Alberto knew he could bring this history to life with Escalada do Sil – the Staircase to the Sil. Whole cluster fermented with ambient yeasts, the swirling, shimmering aromatics of Escalada do Sil evoke the mountain reds of old Galicia with sanguine and floral notes and a bright, elegant profile.
WHAT MAKES THIS WINE UNIQUE?
A history project from Alberto Orte, Escalada do Sil is a elegant, powerfully aromatic red from a region that has become best known for white wine production. Produced from Merenzao (also known as Bastardo, and in France, Trousseau), Mencia and Garnacha Tintorera, this is a blend that evokes a time gone by, when red wines were favored in the region. The fruit all comes from steeply sloped mountain sites that are terraced, requiring hand harvesting only.
2017 94 VM, 93 JS; 2016 93JS, 93IWR, 92Vinous; 2015 93View from the Cellar, 90W&S, 90JS; 2014 95JS
60% Merenzao, 30% Mencia, 10% Garnacha Tintorera. Vines planted in 1993. Tended in slate and granite sandy soil with traces of clay at 500- 750 m (1,640-2,460 ft) elevation.
The lift and elegance of Escalada do Sil and its bright red fruit beg for earthy, savory flavors. Mushrooms, roasted game and poultry are brilliant pairings for Escalada do Sil.
VINIFICATION AND AGEING:
Whole cluster maceration for 28 days followed by fermentation. Once fermentation has taken place, the wine is pressed and aged in 500 liter French oak barrels for 15 months. After one month of natural decantation, the wine is gently filtered then bottled.
425 cs (6 pack)
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 vineyards are in the mountain town of Larouco 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 2.5 kg (about 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.
Opaque ruby. Sexy mineral- and smoke-accented dark fruit, incense and potpourri scents are complemented by suggestions of cola and smoky minerals. Sweet, seamless and concentrated, offering intense boysenberry, cherry liqueur and violet pastille flavors that become livelier and spicier with aeration. Sappy, palate-staining and lively; subtle tannins fold smoothly into the lingering blue fruit. -- Josh Raynolds.