The regional red from Ribeira Sacra 2018 Lousas Viñas de Aldea sets the tone for the portfolio in a cool and rainy vintage that has resulted in very fresh wines with great purity and definition. This mixes origins (Amandi, Bibei and Ribeiras del Sil), soils (but mostly gneiss, slate and granite), altitudes (400 to 600 meters) and exposures. It also mixes grape varieties—it's mostly Mencía with some 20% other grapes, including Merenzao, Brancellao, Caíño, Sousón, Mouratón, Alicante, Godello and Palomino, etc.—and comes from vines ranging between 15 and 60 years of age to represent the region and vintage.
For Envínate, this 2018 is in line with previous cooler years like 2014 and 2016, but with lots of rain in June and July that resulted in mildew and especially black rot, which reduced yields by about 30%, and in some places whole parcels were lost. September was much drier, and they were able to harvest slowly and with the precision needed for each plot. The different plots fermented in concrete or open plastic bins with 70% to 100% full clusters.
Thirty percent of the volume matured in concrete and the rest in used barriques with the lees and without racking for 11 months. They only used a little sulfur at bottling time. The backbone comes from Ribeiras del Sil, a zone that delivers vertical wines and adds freshness. It's perfumed with notes of violets, expressive and open, with lots of fruit, a spicy twist and the complexity of mixing different origins and soils. The palate is pungent and more powerful than it seems, with very fine minerality. Incredible for the price. Luis Gutierrez - The Wine Advocate - 94+