Silice Viticultores Tinto 2019, Ribeira Sacra, Spain

Fredi Torres makes these wines with a focus on field blends that produce energetic bright wines. They are near Sober in Amandi on mixed soils that have some schist and some granite. As the name implies, Silice is organized around the winegrowers of Ribeira Sacra, whose intense manual work on the vertiginous slopes that line the Sil River Canyon is the lifeblood of the project. Silice currently works with a total of 8 hectares of vines (1.5 hectare of which belongs to Juan and Carlos) planted primarily on granite, with some schist and gneiss parcels, in the zones of Amandi, Doade, and Rosende. All of the vineyards are farmed organically, with copper and sulfur treatments applied as needed. Like many top producers in the region, Silice chooses to work outside of the D.O. Ribeira Sacra. Varietals: Mencia, Albarello, Garnacha Tintorera, Merenzao and 2% whites. Vineyard: A mix of old vine vineyards owned by Juan and Carlos and some purchased fruit. 80% Mencia and then 20% a mix of Garnacha Tintorera, Albarello, Brancellao and white grapes. Vinification: Native yeast fermentation with 30% stems and 14 days maceration in concrete lagars, stainless steel tank and old fudre. Aged 9 months on the fine lees in a combination of fudre, concrete and stainless steel. The red 2019 Sílice Tinto has a textbook Ribeira Sacra nose (let’s say a “sober” nose instead), but ironically enough, it’s sold without appellation of origin. It has notes of ripe berries and a contained 12.5% alcohol. They described it nicely, “fresh but weightless fruit with the classical herbal bitterness from Mencía,” the main grape here that is complemented by some 15% other varieties, Garnacha Tintorera, Merenzao (Trousseau) and even white grapes. It’s a mixture of grapes from younger and older vineyards on granite and slate soils, and it fermented with 25% stems with 21 days of maceration in stainless steel and then matured in old oak foudres and concrete vats.