Located on the steep banks of the river Sil in the majestic beauty of Ribeira Sacra lies Adega Algueira. At the top of the banks, amongst chestnut and oak trees, lies the winery built in the Romanesque style to mimic the monasteries crafted by monks in this area back in the 12th Century. Of course the monks brought with them the need for wine and so they began planting vines along the banks of the Sil. Here the vineyards are on very steep inclines and planted on terraces made from pure schist soils, much like Cote-Rotie or the Mosel. The schist soils, steep inclines and tempering effects of the river provide the perfect micro climate for producing truly special and unique wines.
They believe the vineyard is like a musical chord that is needed to sound great in order to compose a masterpiece. And the vineyard is one of breathtaking beauty!
Algueira focuses on local grape varieties – for red grapes this includes: Mencia, Albarello, Merenzao (Trousseau) and Caiño and – for whites: Godello, Loureiro, Treixadura and Albariño. All the fruit used in their wines is estate grown with the utmost care using biodynamic methods (though not “officially” certified). Given the extreme steepness of the slopes, all the vineyard work and harvest are done, painstakingly, by hand.
The winery makes a few Mencia-based Ribeira Sacra wines starting with a beautiful, “crunchy” tank-aged wine, and working up to others that see some aging in (mostly) seasoned oak 500-liter barrels. They also make tiny quantities of wines from several rare indigenous varieties, in both red and white. To compose these masterpieces, they began work with the famous Raul Perez as the "spiritual" guiding winemaker. They further carry the biodynamic baton in the winery and use foot treading of grapes and spontaneous fermentations to make these pure, natural, mineral-laden and beautifully textured wines.
Algueira’s Ribeira Sacras are all special wines, not to mention incredible values given the work involved to produce them. They deserve a place in the pantheon of unique and soulful wines from one of the great and largely undiscovered terroirs in the wine world. less